Kevin Martin knows he's got a chance to book a ticket to the Olympics. The hardest part will be waiting two years to make it happen.
Martin's rink locked up a spot in the 2013 Olympic curling trials after winning his fourth Capital One Canada Cup of Curling with a 7-4 victory over Glenn Howard on Sunday.
The Edmonton skip and his team of John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert won gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and will hope to defend the medal at Sochi, Russia in 2014.
“We talked about that all week,” said Martin. “It's nice to get it out of the way. But like John was saying, ‘Now what do we do for two years?'
“This year is already set but next year, absolutely, we'll have to have a team meeting and decide what we're going to do and this will have a bearing on it, for sure.”
Martin will be joined at the Olympic trials in Winnipeg by Jennifer Jones, who advanced on the women's side with a 9-4 victory over Chelsea Carey.
Both Martin and Winnipeg's Jones won $26,000, plus entries to next year's Canada Cup in Moose Jaw, Sask., and the 2013 Continental Cup in Penticton, B.C.
“We were never really looking that far ahead,” said Jones, a four-time national champion who scored at 94 per cent on her skip rocks in the lopsided match.
“But it is nice. This way, you don't really have to go all out (for the next two seasons). You can control your schedule and pick the events you want to play in, which is kind of nice.”
In the men's final, Martin scored two points each in the third and fifth ends to take a 4-2 lead, then added singles in the seventh, ninth and 10th ends to beat Howard.
“Hey, we're excited as heck,” said Morris. “Once you get a taste of that Olympics in Vancouver you want to get back there. Now we're on our way and we want to be the hardest-working team over the next three years.”
Coldwater, Ont., skip Howard and his team of Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing and Craig Savill took home $16,000 for the second-place finish.
Last year at Medicine Hat, Alta., Howard defeated Martin 10-7 in the final. But his loss Sunday was Howard's eighth against Martin in their last 10 matches.
“My rocks definitely ran a little straighter this game,” said Howard. “We had a lot of close calls and Kevin came through again. Sound familiar? It's frustrating, obviously. He's got us a lot. We throw the odd one in there but they're an unreal team. They just make a ton of shots.”
Meanwhile in the women's final, Jones dominated Carey and her Morden, Man., rink by scoring three points in both the fourth and seventh ends.
Carey and her team of Kristy McDonald, Kristen Foster and Lindsay Titheridge settled for $16,000, while Jones and lead Dawn Askin celebrated their second Cup win. It was the first Cup win for third Kaitlyn Lawes and second Joelle Sabourin.
“You know, it was just fun to go out there and curl well in a big game,” said Jones.
“They were just a little bit off early and we got the lead, but they're a great team and I'm sure they'll bounce back. But I thought we came out and played well from the first end on, and everybody made my job easy. It was a fun game to play.”