Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Olympics Scotland's Murdoch is Martin's biggest threat

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CALGARY -- There is one major obstacle standing between Canada's Kevin Martin and a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

His name is David Murdoch and the 31-year-old curler from Lockerbie, Scotland has accomplished something that literally hundreds of other competitors have not been able to do for the past couple of decades -- he seems to have an edge on Martin.

Murdoch, the 2006 and 2009 world champion, beat Martin three straight games at the world championships in Moncton last April, including in the gold medal game.

This year he edged Martin at the Casino Rama Curling Skins Game before going on to win the final over Randy Ferbey. Martin did manage to beat Murdoch in the 2008 gold medal game at the world championships but lost his playoff game to Murdoch, who will represent Great Britain in Vancouver.

Does that mean Murdoch has a mental edge over the four-time Canadian champion?

"To be honest, we don't treat Kevin's team any different than we do any other team we played. Those guys are exceptional and you have to play exceptionally well to beat them," Murdoch told The Canadian Press at Calgary's Glencoe Curling Club.

Murdoch said there's no doubt that with home ice advantage and with their success in the past, Martin should be the heavy favourite. But he does take some solace in the fact that he does know he is cable of beating Martin.

"That's one good thing we can take in and the fact once you've beaten a team you know it's within you to try and beat that team again. I think we can take positives from that."

Murdoch curls for Scotland in non-Olympic years but everyone goes under the umbrella of Great Britain at the Olympics. In 20 Winter Olympics, Great Britain has won only 21 medals.

Murdoch said curling gets very little attention even at home in Scotland, the birthplace of the sport, and normally even less in Britain. But that changes in Olympic years and curling is one of the areas that Great Britain has a chance to shine.

"Actually it's surprising how it is for those two weeks. It's probably the most popular sport. They were getting as many people watching the curling as they were for some of the other events at Wimbledon," said Murdoch with a laugh.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 6, 2010 D4

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