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24 Feb 2006
Turin 2006, Curling, Olympic News, Canada
Turin 2006

Howard's way brings nous to Canadian curlers

Canada’s curling team was full of youngsters. Each of the athletes was in their mid-20s – except for one. Six weeks before the national championships, skip Brad Gushue has invited the veteran player Russ Howard to join his rink, paving the way for Howard to make a bit of history.

Howard added some experience and tactical nous to the group and helped to calm them during some stressful situations. He had, after all, seen a good deal more of international competition than his team-mates. Howard had competed in four previous Olympic trials, but never before qualified to participate in the Games. This time, though, fate was on his side.

Howard celebrated his 50th birthday during the Turin Games, but didn't have time for a party as his rink fought their way through the round-robin stage, then on to the semi-finals, and then into the final itself. There they beat Finland to take the nation's first Olympic gold in the sport.

Howard became the oldest Winter Olympic champion since 1924, when another curler – Britain’s Robin Welsh – also won gold. He is the oldest Canadian ever to win gold.

He now works as an estate agent, as well as being a part-time commentator on curling and has also been a curling coach. His great aunt, Jean Thompson, was a runner who represented Canada in the 800m at the 1928 Olympic Games.

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