WINNIPEG - Jim Armstrong is comfortable heading into the 2014 Sochi Paralympics skipping the team to beat in curling.
Armstrong will lead a veteran wheelchair curling team to Russia. And just as Canada is a favourite in curling at the Olympics, so to will the squad representing this country in the sport at the Paralympics.
"I think as far as going in as a favourite, I would much prefer that as going in as a non-favourite," Armstrong said Friday at the Olympic Curling Trials in Winnipeg, where his team was introduced.
Canada has won gold both times since curling joined the winter sports lineup at the Paralympics in 2006. The team also got a good look at the venue in Sochi at the last world championship in March.
"We managed to take gold and you know I think that experience will do us very, very well in the upcoming Paralympics," said the skip from Victoria.
The mixed team includes double gold medal winner Sonja Gaudet from North Vancouver, B.C., at lead and 2010 team member Ina Forrest from Fort St. John, B.C., at second.
There are two relative newcomers, alternate Mark Ideson of Parry Sound, Ont., and third Dennis Thiessen from Crystal City, Man.. Thiessen also was part of the world championship team that won last March in Sochi.
Gaudet will be shooting for her third gold medal but says one or three, it means as much.
"Honestly it really doesn't matter whether it's the first, second or third gold medal," she said. "Winning a gold medal is truly a reflection of everything that you did through the season.
"All the time and effort that went into training with our teammates and our excellent support staff."