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Canada curlers clinch 13th gold medal

Canada's men's curling team

Canada's curlers strike 'perfect' gold

By Anna Thompson
BBC Sport at the Vancouver Olympic Centre

Canada successfully defended their men's curling title after easily beating Norway 6-3 to win gold in the final at Vancouver Olympic Centre.

Kevin Martin's men were in total control of the high-calibre match, only allowing Norway to score in two ends.

Canada, hot favourites before the Games began, did not lose a match in the entire competition, an unprecedented achievement in Olympic history.

And they became the host nation's 13th gold medallists with a clinical win.

Norway, who had beaten Martin's team at the 2002 Games to gold, had to settle for silver this time and could have no complaints.

We probably played one of the best teams in the history of curling here today

Norway coach Pal Trulsen

There had been those who had doubted the skip Martin's psychological toughness after he failed with the final stone in Salt Lake City and again in the 2009 World Championship final to David Murdoch's Scotland.

But it was a completely measured and calm performance by the 43-year-old in front of a packed 6,000 capacity crowd.

"Finally, it took a long time," said Martin. "But the hard work was worth it.

"I can't explain it. It's an amazing feeling and I think it will get better and better as the day goes on."

After the first end was blanked, Canada settled for one in the second and had a steal in the fourth when Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud's draw was short by an inch.

Canada's skip Kevin Martin embraces team-mate Johnny Morris after winning gold
Martin (right) held his nerve in front of the home fans in Vancouver

Canada had only lost once in more than 80 matches after going 2-0 up and they were not about to give up their grip on Olympic gold.

They took a 3-0 lead after five ends but Norway hit back with two in the sixth.

However their fightback was short-lived as Canada, with some spectacular take-outs by crowd-pleaser Johnny Morris, scored two when Ulsrud's final stone failed to dislodge the Canadian stone nearer the button.

Norway took a single in the eighth but needed more and when Canada went into a three-shot lead with just one end to go, they knew the game was up.

Ulsrud said: "If you give me 10 minutes then I'll probably be happy with silver. We didn't put in a good game and Kevin's team was great.

"We had a plan coming in, as long as we could keep it tight then we would have a chance. We tried to play defensively and it didn't work. He came right back at us every time."

Norway coach Pal Trulsen said his team should not be ashamed of falling short against Canada.

"We probably played one of the best teams in the history of curling here today," he said.

The crowd, including actor Donald Sutherland and many of the rival men's and women's curling teams, had already given a rendition of the national anthem as Martin drew the last stone for victory.

He was already celebrating, broom aloft, before it eased into the house. Meanwhile Morris, a firefighter by trade, bear-hugged his colleagues in sheer delight.

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see also
Canada curlers make Olympic final
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
GB men's curlers out after defeat
25 Feb 10 |  Curling
GB women bow out with Canada loss
23 Feb 10 |  Curling
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010

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