The 2006 Paralympic wheelchair curling final was against Great Britain, and what a great game it was.
We were ahead in the last end 6-4, and everything kind of fell apart on us. We couldn’t hit this particular stone, nothing was happening. When it came down to my shots we were facing three, and when I threw my first one it was… nowhere where I wanted it to go. Not even close! It was on the side of the button but wide open, fully exposed.
The Great Britain skip, Frank Duffy, wheeled down the ice to throw his stone and he actually said to me, "Thanks for the gold medal."
So what do you say to that? How do you keep your composure? I go back to my quote – “Maybe you like second place, maybe you like that ‘you gave it your all, better luck next time’ malarkey they spoon-feed to runner-ups.”
He threw and you could not pass a piece of paper sideways between his stone and mine. He’d missed it by the tiniest margin. Lo and behold, I managed to win the first Paralympic gold medal ever awarded in the sport of wheelchair curling.
Is there another reason why this memory is not number one? For the last 10 years, I've had to deal with people's opinions that we won the gold medal by default. They all said that we won because the other guy missed his shot for the win. That’s bullshit, of course, and no matter how easy Frank’s shot should have been, it turned out to not be so easy, right?
Now, what if I told you that my team has never celebrated or been celebrated for winning that first-ever gold?
Here’s what happened. We were awarded our medals, and it was great and emotional and all that, but then they hauled us off for drug testing. Not one or two of us…. all of us. This was during the time we should have been celebrating. By the time we were done, it was time to leave the building. So we get on the bus and then get back to the village, but there was no celebration.
The next day, even after the closing ceremony, there was no team celebration. My players all just split. The team basically broke up after that, and we haven’t played together since.