SOCHI, Russia, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Canada’s Olympic-winning curling team thanked British coach Soren Gran on Friday for firing them up with his criticism of their “aggressive style” ahead of the gold medal match.
Canada thrashed Britain 9-3 to claim a third successive gold medal and said that the comments from Swede Gran had given them extra motivation.
“I was a little shocked. I don’t know what his thinking was in saying that publicly before the final,” said Canadian skip Brad Jones.
“I really think that was a big mistake on his part. I really believe in karma and I think that’s what you maybe saw out there tonight,” he added.
Gran indicated he felt that the Canadians were too noisy and brash in what is traditionally a sedate sport where rivals keep their emotions in check.
Jacobs made no excuse for his team’s energetic approach and weight training regimes, saying a high level of fitness was needed to sweep a path for stones.
“Curling is a sport, we are athletes. We need to be in great shape if we want to continue being at the top of the sport.”
The Canadian team of four includes brothers Ryan and E.J. Harnden, who are cousins of Jacobs.
“I don’t think many people can say they have won Olympic gold like that,” said Ryan Harnden.
“To be able to do it with my brother, he’s my best friend, I love him to death. It’s just a dream come true,” he added.
It is another family affair for Canada after sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe took gold and silver in the ski moguls on the first day of competition in Sochi.
Ryan Harnden agreed that Gran had spurred on the Canadians with remarks that were amplified in Canada, where curling has a high profile.
“That definitely lit a fire under us. That doesn’t make us mad or anything, it actually makes us play better,” he said.
“We’re a very emotional team and we’re always going to be like that.”
Gran himself played down the controversy caused by his comments.
“They were very quiet today, that’s why they won,” he said. (Writing by Keith Weir, +44 20 7542 8022; Editing by Ossian Shine)