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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 01:12 GMT

Norway grab surprise curling gold

By BBC Sport Online's Mike Haggerty

Even by his own admission, Norway's Pal Trulsen became the unexpected men's curling Olympic champion, with a 6-5 win over Kevin Martin from Canada.

From the moment he emerged from Canada's tough qualification event, Martin was the favourite in many eyes to take this title, but he was made to work all the way by Trulsen, as the Norwegian dark horse fought for victory.

But Martin brought with him the mantle of being one of the few top-class Canadian skips never to win at world level, and this unwelcome record eventually came to haunt him again in Ogden.

After Martin blanked the first end, Trulsen stole a single in the second. This pattern was repeated in the next two ends, except that Trulsen stole for two and a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

After this, Martin finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth, scoring two, and then stealing a single in the sixth end to level the game at 3-all.

Trulsen took the lead again with a single in the seventh, but Martin looked like he might pull away when he scored two in the eighth end.

Tight finish

Trulsen could only gain one shot in the ninth to level the game at 5-all, but he faced the last end without the benefit of the last stone.

Eventually in this end, with two Norwegian stones lying in the rings, Martin had a last-shot draw to the four-foot ring for victory and the title.

As soon as it left his hand, he knew it was heavy and the Canadian team had to watch as their shot nudged the front Norwegian stone in the house and then drifted on, to eventually land just outside the other Norwegian stone by the narrowest of margins.

This closing stage recovery was reminiscent of Trulsen's performance in the semi-final when he scored three in the last two ends and then a further steal in the extra end to make it to the final.

Afterwards, a dejected and tearful Canadian squad could only look on as Norway celebrated.


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