LONDON, ONT. -- Jeff Stoughton got famous by doing two things -- representing Manitoba at the Brier and authoring curling's silliest human trick, the "spinarama."'
He hadn't even arrived here Friday for the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier when the media were already asking: "So will you? Will you?"
"I don't like doing it because it means we're probably getting our asses kicked," said Stoughton, who was featured in the movie Men With Brooms doing his 360-degree delivery. "But I've usually done it at the Brier and I probably will here again if I get the chance.
"I've done it once when we were leading a team, but I checked with them first to make sure it was OK. You still have to respect the other team, especially if you're blowing them out. So usually I save it for when we're being blown out."
In case you were wondering, Stoughton says he can successfully make a takeout better than 50 per cent of the time when using the spinarama delivery. Draws are much more dicey.
And he can only do it using an in-turn. "I've never ever tried it with an out-turn," he says.
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Alberta's Kevin Martin will carry a record-breaking 26-game winning streak into his opening game this evening against Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs.
Just four teams in Brier history ever went undefeated through an entire Brier, and Martin's 2008 and 2009 Brier-winning teams are two of them.
Because Martin was busy winning Olympic gold in Vancouver last winter, his foursome didn't curl in last year's Brier. But they're back again this year with that unprecedented winning streak still intact and they are the consensus pick to win it all.
Martin, a four-time Brier winner, says he's had teams that might have been as talented as his current juggernaut -- third John Morris, second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert -- but never one that worked harder.
"I've been pretty lucky to have some good teams," he said. "But work-ethic-wise? I've never seen anything like it.
"Give you an example. On Tuesday, we had a four-hour practice -- two hours, lunch, two hours. We come off the ice and I'm sore. My knee hurts, my back's sore. And Johnny and those guys are all excited because they're headed off to the gym for another two-hour workout.
"That's the difference with this
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Martin served notice in the individual skills competition that he will again be a force to be reckoned with.
He and Ontario's Richard Hart shot a blistering 27 out of a possible 30 in the preliminary round to lead the way heading into the eight-player playoff round this morning that precedes the start of the Brier round robin this afternoon.
Also qualifying for today's skills competition was Quebec second Christian Bouchard, Newfoundland second Ryan Fry, Alberta third John Morris, Northern Ontario skip Brad Jacobs, Alberta second Marc Kennedy and B.C. third Ken Maskiewich. The top Manitoba point-getter was Reid Carruthers with 22, one point short of a qualifying spot.
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This year's Brier is being held in the John Labatt Centre, home of the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights. The building seats 9,090 for hockey and organizers have pre-sold 110,000 tickets for the Brier. That already puts this year's event ahead of the disappointing total crowd of 107,242 last year in Halifax.
This is the first time the Brier has been held in Eastern Canada in back-to-back years since it was held in Sault Ste. Marie and Hamilton in 1990 and 1991, respectively.