Martin hails golden 'dream'

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The Independent Online

Kevin Martin's curlers, snowboarder Jasey Jay Anderson and the speed skating team pursuit trio of Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky and Denny Morrison all won gold for Canada on the last weekend of the Games to ensure Vancouver will be remembered fondly by the host nation.

They ensured Canada would end the Games with at least 13 gold medals, the most at this Olympics, and a 14th from the men's ice hockey final late last night would break the record for most golds at a Winter Games, surpassing the tallies of the Soviet Union in 1976 and Norway in 2002.

That provided considerable consolation for not achieving Canadian Olympic officials' pre-Games prediction that the C$117m "Own The Podium" programme would enable Team Canada to win the most medals, with the team from their neighbours to the south, the USA, certain to take that plaudit with a total so far of 36 to Canada's 25.

In the men's curling, Canada skip Martin led his side to a 6-3 win over Norway at the Vancouver Olympic Centre. Martin only needed to remove a Norwegian stone out of the way with his hammer on the 10th and final end and when he did so he threw both arms into the air to celebrate.

After the medal ceremony Martin said: "It's an amazing feeling. I was saying to the guys as we were walking to the podium, it was like we are walking through a dream. Everything has become real." Earlier Switzerland had claimed the bronze medal, defeating fellow Europeans Sweden 5-4.

Canada beat the USA in the men's team pursuit final. Morrison, Makowsky and Giroux posted a winning time of 3min 41.37sec for the eight-lap race. "It is a weight off the shoulders," said Morrison. "It is representing Canada. It was amazing."

Germany's quartet of Daniela Anschutz Thoms, Stephanie Beckert, Anna Friesinger-Postma and Katrin Mattscherodt won gold in the women's team pursuit final, edging Japan into silver by two-hundredths of a second with Poland claiming the bronze.

Anderson claimed his gold in freestyle skiing's parallel giant slalom in the last event on Whistler's Cypress Mountain. Anderson beat top-ranked Benjamin Karl of Austria by 0.35 seconds. Mathieu Bozzetto of France took the bronze medal.

Finland won the mens' ice-hockey bronze medal, beating Slovakia 5-3 in their third-place match. Olli Jokinen struck twice in the third period to complete an impressive fightback by the Finns.