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Olympic Insider Report – February 25th

We’re in the home-stretch here at the Vancouver Olympic Centre and the Insider is feeling the excitement of playoff curling at the Olympics!

Medal-round games are intense at any competition, but when it’s the Olympics? There’s nothing like it, and you can really feel it in the building.

Kevin Martin and the boys have been keeping busy, trying to keep their minds off of what’s at stake. The Insider hears that Kevin has been spending a lot of quality time with his wife Shauna and their kids Karrick, Kalycia and Mykaela to relax.

The other guys, though, have been checking out a lot of Olympic events.

John, for instance, was at the Molson Canadian House on Tuesday night to watch the Canada-Germany hockey game, and then, as an added bonus for him and alternate Adam Enright, and some friends and family, one of John’s favourite musical acts, the Sam Roberts Band, was playing a live concert. Pretty nice way to get ready for the medal round, eh?

John can’t say enough about how cool the Olympic experience has been, and how great it’s been to share it with his parents Earle and Maureen.

We told you about Marc Kennedy’s family yesterday, and the Insider hears that a few of his family members were able to take in the Finland-Czech Republic men’s hockey game on Wednesday.

The Insider has spotted a few more celebrities at the VOC, including some more royalty! King Harald V of Norway attended a draw Tuesday afternoon to watch Thomas Ulsrud’s game, and afterwards, Ulsrud’s team had a private audience with the monarch.

Get this: Thomas actually presented the King with a pair of those psychedelic pants they’ve been wearing during the Olympics. Apparently King Harald thanked Thomas, but said he would wait until later to try them on!

On the women’s side of things, we know Pat Bernard and Lucille O’Connor — Cheryl’s and Susan’s mothers — are holding up under the strain, but the Insider is not so sure about Cheryl’s brother Don. “He’s really worn out!” said Cheryl the other day.

Well, you’d be worn out, too, if you had to keep cheering for 12 days! You can always spot the Team Bernard supporters in the stands here, because they’ve got those plastic clapping hands. It really makes a great racket, but it’s always fun to hear them when Canada makes a big shot.

Susan’s dad Terry O’Connor, who lives in Creston, B.C., has arrived, and so have Carolyn’s folks; her mom Merline, who’s now living in Comox, B.C., with Doug Maidens, and her dad Ken and his wife Val, travelled from Manitoba to be here.

Here’s a neat fact about Carolyn and her mom: they actually curled together at the Tournament of Hearts! They won the Manitoba women’s championship in 1985, and played at the Scotts in Winnipeg that year and finished with a 5-5 record.

Oops! We forgot to tell you about another celebrity sighting! A member of the Canadian men’s coaching staff who shall remain nameless (OK, it was men’s assistant coach Paul Webster!) said he saw David Letterman watching a game at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

Apparently, Letterman was checking out the in-turns (groan!).

Back to reality: it’s interesting to see some of the great camera angles during the games that you don’t normally see at the Tim Hortons Brier or Scotties Tournament of Hearts. And did you know that every single end of every single game during the Olympics was being broadcast? That means four separate camera crews, four production crews and at least four different play-by-play crews, accounting for the different networks who are broadcasting the games.

We’ll tell you more about the TV side of things in tomorrow’s Olympic Insider report.

In the meantime, enjoy the medal round!