Host City: Torino, Italy
Venue(s): Ice Palace, Pinerolo
Date Started: February 13, 2006
Date Finished: February 24, 2006
Format: Round-robin pool, followed by single-elimination medal round.
After the disappointments of the 1998 and 2002 Olympics Canada had resumed its place as the world leaders in men's curling. Randy Ferbey's Edmonton rink had won three of the four world championships but they had performed badly at the Canadian trials, failing even to make the semi-final stage, and Canada would instead be represented by a Newfoundland rink led by former world junior champion [Brad Gushue]. Canada's rivals for gold appeared to be the Swedish team led by three-time world champion [Peja Lindholm] and [David Murdoch]'s Great Britain team.
Canada faltered in early play and had to rely on victories in their last two matches to reach the semi-finals as the Finnish team were the most impressive qualifiers. The host nation Italy, who had no great pedigree in the sport, shocked Canada, USA and Germany and threatened at one stage to be suprise semi-finallists.
The Finns edged out Britain in the first semi-final whilst Canada's match against the USA was decided when the Americans gave up five shots on the ninth end. The Canada-Finland final was a tight affair at the half way stage but a series of Finnish errors gave up six shots on the sixth end and Finnish skip [Markku Uusipaavalniemi] conceded with two ends still to play.
The composition of the Canadian team was unusual as, although Brad Gushue formed the team and was the nominal skip, the more experienced [Russ Howard] called the shots which was the traditional skip's role. Howard, who celebrated his 50th birthday during the Games, was the oldest Winter Olympic champion since fellow curler [Robin Welsh] in 1924.
The USA defeated Great Britain for the bronze medal, America's first in curling, in a match that was briefly interrupted by a streaker whose modesty was protected only by a strategically placed rubber chicken.