Liveblog: Kevin Martin smells gold

Men's curling semi-finals

The best curler in the world is trying to rubber-stamp his status with an Olympic gold medal. But first Kevin Martin needs to conquer to the Swedes in today’s semi-final. After end number one, there’s no score. The other semi-final is Norway versus Switzerland.

2:28 pm — Two things stand out. One: Kevin Martin looks a whole lot younger in person. If he cut his losses and shaved off that last little bit of hair, the TV cameras wouldn’t be so unforgiving. Two: Norway’s famous checkered pants look a whole lot louder in person. The white belt is the clincher.

2:33 pm — Canada takes the early 1-0 lead after Martin sends his hammer into the four-foot circle for a single point. Same score next door, as Norway and their pants strike first against the Swiss.

2:41 pm — No sign of actor Donald Sutherland, who showed up (with a novel in his hand) to the women’s semis this morning. Still trying to confirm what book he was reading. And whether Kiefer likes curling, too.

2:46 pm — Norway 2, Switzerland 0.

2:50 pm — This could be a disastrous third end for Team Martin. Swedish skip Niklas Edin is lying three with the hammer in his pocket. Huge final shot coming up for Martin. The crowd is pumped.

2:52 pm — Minimal damage. Martin knocked a Canadian rock into the four-foot circle, and the best Edin could do was a single. Bit opportunity lost for the Swedes. To end four we go, tied at one.

2:58 pm — Hard!!!

2:59 pm — Harder!!!

3:09 pm — Sweet recovery by the Swedish skip. With his final rock of the fourth end, he knocked two Canadian stones out of the house and left his neatly inside the four-foot circle. Martin had no choice but to take the single point and relinquish the hammer. Canada 2, Sweden 1. This is an anxious crowd. They’ve usually sung O Canada by now.

3:23 pm — Martin steals two to end the first half, sending the bleachers into a cow-bell frenzy. That’s two costly misses now for Niklas Edin, the 24-year-old Swedish skip. 4-1 Canada. It’s the same score on Sheet B, with Norway in the lead. If this holds up, the gold-medal final will be Mr. Pressure versus Men in Checkers.

3:39 pm — Switzerland is fighting back. 4-3 Norway.

3:45 pm — Edin misses again. Another steal of two for Canada. 6-1.

3:59 pm — Seven ends done. This one’s over. News at 11. In the meantime, did you know that Kevin Martin owns a curling and tennis shop in Edmonton? It’s called “Kevin’s Rocks-n-Racquets,” and if you go there next week, you’ll see an Olympic medal hanging behind the counter. The only question is which one: gold or silver?

4:14 pm — A fan is desperately trying to get the rest of the crowd to sing O Canada, but they won’t bite. They’re too busy watching a blowout. End number nine, 6-2 Canada.

5:07 pm — Canada vs. Norway for gold.

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