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Olympic Insider Report – February 20th

Here’s how life can really be hard for Olympic curlers: a late-night carpet hockey game could break out in the Athletes’ Village and you could get some really, really bad rug burns.But I think it was worth it for Ben and Marc last week when they were hanging around the Village late one night and saw some hockey nets in the main lobby.

Wow, they thought, those would look really good in our room! So up the elevator they went with the nets, and along for the ride came a few members of the Canadian women’s hockey team, and once they got in the room, out came the mini-sticks and it was game on!

We’re not quite sure who won the game, but we can tell you there was some damage done! Marc got a bad rug burn on his elbow that actually started bleeding during a game this week. He had to notify the icemakers because a drop or two fell on the ice, and the crew led by Hans Wuthrich of Gimli, Man., and Dave Merklinger of Vernon, B.C., cleaned things up right away.

Marc might have got off lightly, though, because Meaghan Mikkelson, who plays defence for the Canadian women’s hockey team, got a bloody nose during the game. But Ben says it was caused by one of her own teammates and not the curlers!

“We were just trying to get them ready for their games,” insisted Ben, and based on the way Team Canada is squashing teams in the women’s hockey tournament, it looks like it paid off!

Did you know that Kevin, John, Marc, Ben and Adam took part in a car wash on Wednesday?

The strange thing is, they didn’t get their hands wet at all, and they didn’t need any soap! The car wash is what it’s called when Olympic athletes run the gauntlet for the CTV-TSN broadcast consortium. So on Wednesday, the boys did various interviews for various networks and were asked all sorts of questions, and some of them were even about curling!

It’s also kind of funny to see how media companies outside of Canada are talking about curling. One newspaper writer in the U.S. called referred to Kevin as a “50-something bald guy who looks just like your corner grocer.” Wow, is there something we don’t know? The last we checked, Kevin is 43 and he sells curling and tennis equipment, not groceries! As for the bald part? Well, the Insider can’t argue with that.

Once again, the crowds have been terrific at the Vancouver Olympic Centre, but if you’re going out to watch the games, please remember to be respectful of the players on the ice, and the fans around you. It’s great that everybody’s cheering, but people have to remember the athletes need to be able to concentrate to throw their rocks. So cheer loud, but pick your spots wisely!

Both teams are still doing great, and while Kevin and the boys were playing Britain last night, Cheryl, Susan, Carolyn, Cori, Kristie and coach Dennis were enjoying a well-deserved day off on Saturday. They have really gone down to the wire in every one of their games, so while it was good to have a day off to rest their bodies, it was also good to rest their minds. Olympic curling is pretty draining!

Here’s an interesting fact about curling at the Olympics: if you were to combine all the broadcast time for every sport at the Winter Olympics, curling alone accounts for about 33 per cent of that time. Think about it: each game is being broadcast, so while one draw of curling lasts around three hours, it counts as 12 hours of broadcast time because four different games are going on. That’s pretty incredible!