December 12. 2005
(Executive Council)

The following statement was issued today by Premier Danny Williams. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

I rise today to offer congratulations to a team of young men from this province who are now Olympic athletes and role models to us all.

Yesterday afternoon in Halifax, the curling team of Brad Gushue out of the St. John�s Curling Club won the Tim Horton�s Canadian Curling Trails. With this win, they also earned the privilege of representing Canada at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

This is an extraordinary feat by this young team consisting of: Skip Brad Gushue of St. John�s; First Jamie Korab from Harbour Grace; Third Mark Nichols of Labrador City; along with Russ Howard, a native of New Brunswick and a Canadian curling legend, throwing second stones; coach Toby MacDonald of St. John�s; spare Mike Adam of Labrador City; and the team�s sports psychologist Bas Kavanagh from the Goulds.

These young men have accomplished something truly awesome. They are the very first team from our province to compete at the Olympics in any sport. We have had Newfoundland and Labrador athletes perform at the Olympic Games before, however, this is truly a first for sport in our province.

The Gushue Rink had a remarkable run in this tournament losing only one match while competing against the best curlers in the country. It culminated with an eight to seven win over Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg in a match that I know had Newfoundlanders and Labradorians on the edge of their seats.

When I referred to this team as role models, I did not do so lightly. I have no doubt that their success will do wonders to increase Newfoundland and Labrador�s reputation, not just in curling circles, but in the sporting world generally.

Our recent accomplishments, including the Gushue Rink�s own triumphs as Canadian and World Junior Champions and Corner Brook�s Bas Buckle Rink winning the Senior Men�s World Curling Championships, have proven that our province can compete with the best in the world.

This is a true testament to the desire, dedication and raw talent of athletes in Newfoundland and Labrador, from a talent pool of only a half million people.

I ask all members of this House of Assembly to join with me in congratulating the Gushue Rink on their world class performance and I know that all of us will follow them on their exciting journey to Italy as they make a run for Olympic gold.

2005 12 12                        1:50 p.m.

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