Coronavirus pushes Brad Gushue to suspend curling and business

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Spring is usually a busy time for Canadian curling champion Brad Gushue, who would normally juggle his busy schedule on the ice with his duties as an Orangetheory Fitness franchisee.

Instead, the veteran skip is at home in St. John’s, N.L., with his outstanding sports activities and his studios temporarily closed.

“It was a challenge for me because during what we felt for a few years, it was just going, go, go,” said Gushue. “Now all of a sudden it seems like an extended vacation with nowhere to go. “

Gushue guided his Newfoundland and Labrador team to victory at the Tim Hortons Brier last March in Kingston, Ontario. It was his third national men’s curling title in four years.

The Brier was the last major Canadian sporting event before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. His team is said to have represented the country at the world championship in Glasgow, Scotland, but the event has been canceled.

“When it started it was difficult because I felt like you really had nothing to do every day,” said Gushue. “If you weren’t working and curling was done and our training was done, it was kind of like,‘ What are we doing today? »‘

The 2006 Olympic champion, who turns 40 next month, said he had recalibrated his fitness routine, read more often and spent more family time with his wife, Krista, and daughters Hayley and Marissa.

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Jamie Strashin of CBC Sports reports on the effects of COVID-19 on minor sports in Canada. 2:20

Commercially, Gushue said the pandemic has had a “huge impact” on his three franchises. A fourth studio is under construction.

“We have closed and we have not continued any sales,” he said. “Really, we’re just reaching out to members as much as possible to stay in touch with them. “

Gushue said he planned a major change in the general retail environment. He estimates that the transition to online shopping has accelerated by 10 or 20 years following the pandemic.

“I think we are going to get out of this situation and it will be a little bit of a different world just in our purchasing practices and in the way we function as a society,” he said. “I think you are going to see a lot of changes in a lot of new businesses that have grown and a lot of old businesses that are likely to disappear. “

Keep an eye on heads of government

The 2017 world champion has also been monitoring the regular availability of the press with political and health officials in recent weeks.

“They participate in conferences every day, which I think, as Canadians, we appreciate,” he said. “We may not agree with all the policies to come, but they help people. This is the intention with many of them is to try to get the support of the people who need it. I think they did a pretty good job job.

“I think if you look elsewhere, in other countries – you can connect the dots here – I would certainly disagree with the leadership or certainly its absence. This is not a hoax. “

In addition to the world championship, other competitions remaining on the 2019-20 calendar have also been canceled. Some World Curling Tour events from the 2020-21 campaign have already been deleted.

It is not yet known when Gushue and his teammates will resume competition. The off season normally lasts until the end of summer, but it can be extended by several weeks or months.

The Gushue team is ranked third in Canada and fourth in the world.

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