Regina’s Ben Hebert tasted Olympic gold before and he’s hoping he’ll get to experience it again.
It is the second Olympics for the 34-year-old lead, who won gold with Kevin Martin’s rink in Vancouver in 2010.
“I’m feeling very lucky and humbled that I get to go back,” Hebert said in an interview after qualifying for the Games. “There’s nothing better in our sports than going to the Olympics and being able not only to represent Canada in the curling aspect but represent all the other athletes that are going to be there.”
Hebert curls out of Alberta now with a new team that includes skip Kevin Koe, third Marc Kennedy and second Brett Laing.
They won the Roar of the Rings in spectacular fashion in December to qualify for the games.
It came down to the last stone and Hebert and Laing had to ‘hurry hard’ to get the stone into winning position.
“It was heads down the whole way. I never actually thought for a second it wasn’t there,” Hebert explained. “I thought I had a good split on it on my watch and we knew that spot was quick … we jackhammered it pretty good and then got it to the four foot and the celebrations began.”
Perhaps the most noted part of the celebrations came from Hebert himself with a “broom flip” for the ages sending it flying several feet.
“I was just kind of (in the) heat of the moment. I just wanted to hug (my teammates) and I didn’t want to hit them in the head when my broom so I tossed her away,” he said.
Now, heading into his second Games Hebert believes he has a better perspective on what the Olympics mean and what to expect. For example, he knows Canadian curlers have a target on their backs for their tendency to win it all. Hebert, however, doesn’t mind the pressure.
“I’ve always said I like being the favourite. Being the favourite means if you play good you win … If you’re not the favourite you could go over and play a great game and lose and when you’re the top dog that normally doesn’t happen. So I’m comfortable with it.”
The men’s curling tournament starts Feb. 14 at 5:05 a.m. Versus Great Britain.