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Brendan Bottcher broke by way of
Heading into final night time’s Brier ultimate, Bottcher’s Alberta rink was at risk of turning into the Buffalo Payments of curling. One other loss within the title sport would make it 4 in a row — similar to these notorious ’90s Payments groups.
By no means thoughts that reaching 4 consecutive finals in a match as aggressive because the Brier is a good accomplishment. Or that Bottcher’s group was the underdog in every of the 4 finals. Or that the opposing skips in these video games — Brad Gushue in ’18 and ’20, Kevin Koe in 2019 and this yr — are among the many biggest ever. Or that legends Russ and Glenn Howard every misplaced the Brier ultimate 4 instances as a skip (although they each gained a pair too). 4 consecutive defeats on males’s curling’s greatest stage may have turned Bottcher right into a punchline.
As an alternative, his Alberta group bought the final chuckle, defeating Koe’s defending-champion Team Canada 4-2 last night in the Calgary bubble. It is the primary Brier title for the 29-year-old Bottcher and his teammates Darren Moulding, Bradley Thiessen and Karrick Martin, who had all endured the three consecutive title-game defeats collectively. “It sucked the primary time, it sucked the second time and it sucked simply as a lot the third time,” Bottcher stated after curling 97 per cent final night time to develop into the primary skip aside from Koe or Gushue to win the Brier since 2015.
A number of different takeaways from the Brier:
The Kevin Koe debate must wait. If he’d gained a file fifth Brier title as a skip final night time, we might be arguing proper now about whether or not Koe is the best males’s roller of all time. However the 46-year-old stays tied with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin with 4 titles. Ferbey owns extra world titles than Martin, however Martin gained an Olympic gold medal in Vancouver, so the sting most likely goes to him for now. Koe, although, is clearly nonetheless going sturdy. He’ll be among the many favourites on the Canadian Olympic curling trials, which he gained 4 years in the past.
Wayne Middaugh stole the present. The 53-year-old hadn’t competed in a Brier in eight years and hadn’t skipped in a single in 16. His curling profession successfully ended 5 years in the past when he suffered a horrible leg damage whereas snowboarding. However when his previous buddy and teammate Glenn Howard broke a number of ribs in a latest snowmobile crash (fellas — take it straightforward on the market!) he requested Middaugh to skip his group on the Brier. Middaugh turned the story of the match by going 7-1 within the spherical robin to win Pool A after which profitable his opening sport within the championship pool. Three straight losses after that induced him to barely miss out on the three-team playoffs, however what a run.
There’s nonetheless numerous curling left. Two occasions down within the Calgary bubble, 5 to go. The Canadian combined doubles championship begins Thursday and runs for every week. Then Bottcher’s group will characterize Canada within the males’s world championship April 2-11. Again-to-back Grand Slam of Curling occasions might be held April 14-25 earlier than Scotties champion Kerri Einarson’s group represents Canada on the girls’s world championship beginning April 30.
Discover something bizarre concerning the March Insanity bracket? For the primary time in 45 years, each Duke and Kentucky are lacking. Since then the colleges have mixed to win 9 NCAA males’s basketball titles and ship numerous gamers to the NBA. Each have been ranked within the prime 10 within the pre-season Related Press ballot. However Kentucky went 9-16 and Duke was 13-11 and already trying like it might miss the match when this system shut itself down final week after a optimistic COVID-19 check. The clear favorite to win the match, which suggestions off later this week in a bubble-like surroundings in Indianapolis, is Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are 26-0 and have an vital Canadian participant in junior guard Andrew Nembhard. The opposite No. 1 seeds are Michigan, Illinois and Baylor. The schedule can be a bit bizarre this yr. Moderately than the 64-team area getting began on Thursday, the 4 play-in video games might be held that day and the principle occasion begins Friday. Read more about the bracket here.
Corey Conners was in rivalry once more. Per week after ending third on the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Canadian golfer had one other sturdy exhibiting at an much more prestigious match. Conners shot a final-round 66 yesterday to complete seventh on the Gamers Championship — 4 photographs behind winner Justin Thomas. The 29-year-old from Listowel, Ont., has pocketed greater than $1.1 million US in prize cash over the past two weeks and risen to 44th within the official world rankings and twenty third within the FedEx Cup standings.
Canadian freestyle skiers and snowboarders are racking up medals at their world championships. Up to now seven days, skier Mikael Kingsbury gained double gold within the males’s moguls and twin moguls; Simon d’Artois and Rachael Karker scored silver in, respectively, the boys’s and ladies’s ski halfpipe; Seb Toutant took silver within the males’s snowboard slopestyle; and Megan Oldham grabbed bronze within the girls’s ski slopestyle. The world championships for ski and snowboard cross have been held again in February, and Eliot Grondin took bronze within the males’s snowboard occasion. The ultimate world-championship occasions of the season happen Tuesday, when the boys’s and ladies’s ski and snowboard large air finals might be held in Aspen. Canadians Laurie Blouin, Mark McMorris and Max Parrot will compete within the snowboard competitions. Qualifying for the ski occasions was nonetheless in progress at our publish time. Watch the ski finals dwell from noon-1:30 p.m. ET and the snowboard finals from 3:30-5 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports activities app.
And in case you missed it…
A number of different issues from the weekend it’s best to learn about:
Genie Bouchard fell simply in need of her first match win since 2014. The Canadian tennis participant reached the ultimate of the modest Guadalajara Open, the place she misplaced 6-2, 7-5 Saturday to 57th-ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo. Bouchard, who was as soon as ranked as excessive as fifth, rose from 144th to 116th together with her run to the ultimate in Mexico. Read more about it and watch highlights here.
Drew Brees retired. The NFL’s all-time chief in passing yards and completions introduced yesterday he is hanging it up after 20 seasons. The final 15 got here with the Saints, who took an opportunity on Brees coming off a career-threatening shoulder damage and ended up creating one of many nice QB-coach partnerships in soccer historical past. With the creative Sean Payton designing and calling the performs and Brees executing them to perfection together with his pinpoint accuracy and sharp thoughts, the Saints made a miraculous run to the second spherical of the playoffs of their first season collectively — 2006, the yr after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Three years later, they gained the franchise’s first (and nonetheless solely) Tremendous Bowl, and the Saints made the playoffs in 9 of the final 15 years — fairly outstanding for a group that was a laughingstock earlier than Brees arrived. Read more about his brilliant career here.
Marvin Hagler died. Some of the beloved boxers ever, Hagler is greatest identified for his Eighties middleweight battles with Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and, in fact, Thomas Hearns. The 1985 Hagler-Hearns combat lasted solely eight minutes however is revered for the sheer quantity of violence the fighters heaped on one another — particularly within the first spherical, which some contemplate the best ever fought — earlier than Hagler stopped Hearns within the third. Hagler gained a 15-round resolution over Duran in 1983 however misplaced on factors to Leonard in 1987 in his ultimate bout. Hagler died Saturday on the age of 66. Learn extra about his life and profession here and (do your self a favour) watch that legendary first spherical of Hagler-Hearns here.
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