Winter Olympics: We know how to win - Eve Muirhead

Eve Muirhead. Picture: submitted
Eve Muirhead. Picture: submitted
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EVE Muirhead steadfastly refuses to let things get complicated. She is calm and rational in situations where the rest of us would flap. She doesn’t suffer fools but keeps herself so together that she doesn’t even put us in our place when we cross the line.

There must be nerves, no? On the brink of another Winter Olympics where she will be the person put under observation by an entire nation, like a Big Brother housemate. A few flutters? She is skip of Scotland/Britain, who are the reigning world champions, a team that brushed all-comers aside at the European Championships only to prove they were human in the final.

But this is the Olympics; this is where it all went wrong for Muirhead four years ago in Vancouver. Our error is to assume that she must have sought somebody’s counsel as to how to cope with all the hullabaloo this time, in Sochi; perhaps her father, Gordon, or Rhona Martin? Nope.

“The Olympics is a major tournament. We know how to win major tournaments and you can only take so much advice and so much in from other people. Why change when there’s nothing to fix?” she reasons.

“There’s nothing going on that we need to change and ask for advice from other people, because as a team we are performing well. If we can just keep that up and not let outside distractions get in the way, it will be good.

“We’ve planned our season around Sochi, and we are all relaxed. Things are looking good.”

Because Muirhead and her team-mates did not complete a clean sweep at the Europeans, losing to Sweden with the title on the line, we do not presume they will win Olympic gold as Martin did 12 years ago. Perhaps she will admit that such a reality check could prove a blessing in disguise?

“I guess, in a way, yes. I was super-disappointed after that because no-one likes to lose finals, and that’s just the competitive nature I have. Sweden can have that one, but I think what we have to look at is how great we played as a team all week,” says the 23-year-old.

“We won a Grand Slam event out in Canada earlier on and these are tough events to win – we also won a European Tour event the weekend before we went out to Vegas. So we’ve had a lot of wins out there, and we know how to win finals – the European final was just one of those games when we just weren’t firing on all cylinders.

“We know where we went wrong and we definitely won’t do that again.

“To go through a whole round robin and stay unbeaten right until the final is obviously going to be tough, and it isn’t done that often. So it did go really well, and we kept relaxing through the whole thing. We controlled what we could control and the confidence just took care of itself. I think it built on a lot of our dedication and practice leading up to it, so all was good.”

One of the reasons the Perthshire woman is so relaxed is that she is just back from Las Vegas, where she represented Rest of the World against North America. Surreal, yes, but a nice distraction from the Sochi build-up, too?

“I think it was the best trip we could have had. You go out to Vegas, you have a couple of days relaxing and chilling out, taking it all in – and I don’t really know how to describe Vegas, it’s a bit surreal, isn’t it?

“The conditions were fantastic and it was the same as it’s going to be in Sochi, which will be an advantage. You’re playing in an arena, you’re playing in front of 5,000 or 6,000 people and you’re also playing the best teams in the world.

“It’s been a long season holding out for Sochi, but it’s been a very successful season so far and we just need to make sure we stay consistent.”

• Eve is a member of the Samsung Galaxy Team. To follow her journey, meet the rest of the team, see exclusive content and win amazing prizes, including once-in-a-lifetime winter sport training sessions with the Galaxy Team athletes, visit the Samsung UK Sochi 2014 hub: www.samsung.com/uk/sochi2014