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Curling fever sweeps Memorial as alumni take gold

By Wade Kearley | Feb. 24, 2006

It was pandemonium in the halls of academia as Brad Gushue's curling team made sports history in Newfoundland and Labrador. Alumni, friends and staff had gathered around screens, large and small, on all three Memorial campuses to watch the big game. Twenty-five year old Mr. Gushue, who graduated from Memorial with a bachelor of business administration in 2004, is the youngest Canadian skip ever to lead a curling team to the Olympics since it became a medal sport in 1998 and the first Newfoundlander to win an Olympic gold medal for Canada.

The response to the Gushue team making it to the gold medal match has created a fever pitch hardly seen before in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. And the fever has even reached Italy. The medal run of Canada's curling team swept up the hopes of Canadians that lagged after the defeat of the Canadian men's hockey team.

Curling is being dubbed in Italy as the new “Team Canada” sport. Just prior to game time Rojean Williams of Memorial's Alumni and Affairs and Development office, was on the phone with her sister Denise who was outside the Olympic rink in Italy with front row seats in her hand. Her sister reported that “the cheering for the Gushue Team is awesome!” She also said that word was out in Italy that the provincial government had closed schools for the day and that big screen TV's are popping up in all kinds of venues for the big game.

Based in the St. John's Curling Club, Brad Gushue's Olympic gold team includes Mark Nichols, B.Kin.(Hons.)'05, Jamie Korab, veteran Russ Howard and Mike Adam. Team coach Toby MacDonald is also an alumnus, graduating from Memorial's arts program in 1972.

Dr. Bas Kavanagh of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation is a team advisor. And Dr. Dave Behm also of the school, worked with the team on strength training.