• Some great curling promo yesterday in New Yawk City, outdoors in Central Park (photo) with Team USA and one of their sponsors, Bank of America. We're betting the sight of that caused a double-take or three. We're also betting the sight of the story and two photos in today's New York Times is also causing rampant high-fiving in the offices of USA Curling.
• On a sad note, British Olympic skip Rhona Martin faces added distraction as she battles to reclaim her 2002 gold medal next month in Turin.
Scottish media (here and here) have reported that her year-long struggle for a spot on the team has claimed her marriage, as she has split from her husband Keith. In addition, fiscal woes have forced the sale of their house, with Martin and her two children (aged 10 and 13) now in rented housing and living on social assistance (DSS), along with some sport funding.
It's been the worst year of my life. We are living apart. Our marriage has irretrievably broken down because of financial problems. The DSS pays part of my rent. If it wasn't for funding from the Scottish Institute of Sport and SportScotland, I wouldn't be going to Turin.
Near the end of the Canadian Olympic Trials, word broke that the two Dons of Kevin Martin's Edmonton squad – Walchuk and Bartlett – also suffered marital breakdowns on the road to the rings... indeed, from years of unwavering committment to the sport. Said a teary-eyed Bartlett, the affable Newfoundland native:
It cost me my marriage. We'll see what happens. My wife is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She never gave me grief. I knew she didn't like it. I mean, nobody would like it when your husband is away almost half the year. You raise your kids by yourself. It's just too much time away.
• Still with the Olympics, NBC has released their TV schedule and it's enormous.
NBC and its sister cable channels – USA, MSNBC and CNBC – will televise a record 416 hours of coverage from Italy, an average of 24½ hours a day over the 17-day event. The previous record for a Winter Olympics was 375½ by NBC, CNBC and MSNBC from Salt Lake City four years ago.
Curling is a big winner: the cable outlets will show 26 curling matches, 15 of them live. In fact the only disappointment seems to be a) little curling on the main NBC network and b) no high-def: for the first time, the High Definition coverage will be the same as the regular coverage with the unfortunate exceptions of curling, luge and some skiing events.
But all this would be quibbling... no?
Rumours, incidentally, have the Canadian TV schedule released the week of January 23. Look for most of the round-robin games on TSN, playoffs on CBC, and CBC's on-air crew of Don, Joan and Mike to be front and centre. This is the third time it's happened but it's still a quadrennial shocker for most curling fans to see CBCers commentating on TSN.