Winter Olympics: Tears of 2014 will motivate Eve Muirhead

Great Britain skip Eve Muirhead is bidding to emulate Rhona Martin, whose rink won gold in 2002. Picture: PA.
Great Britain skip Eve Muirhead is bidding to emulate Rhona Martin, whose rink won gold in 2002. Picture: PA.
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Eve Muirhead is using the memory of her biggest disappointment to inspire her to new success at the Olympics.

Four years ago the British skip and her rink were in tears after being beaten by Canada in the curling semi-finals.

It is that memory – seared in their consciousness – they recall ahead of today’s semi-final with Canada.

“That was the worst loss of my career. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in curling,” said Muirhead. “Even though we won bronze, after that it took me a long time to get over because, I felt, we were so close to winning gold.

“I do believe you learn more about yourselves in these situations and become stronger for it. I think rebounding to win the bronze really showed our courage and professionalism. That bronze medal match is the hardest game you’ll play. You’re coming in off a loss and you’ve still got the chance to be an Olympic medallist.

“I’ve played three Olympics now; that experience is in the bank. I know I’ve been there and I know what it will feel like.”

In contrast, Swedish skip Anna Hasselborg is making her Olympic debut here and she has history with Muirhead in recent months. The Scot beat her to win bronze at last year’s World Championship and again to win the European title in December.

Hasselborg, however, edged their encounter during the round-robin stages and is viewed as one of the sport’s rising stars. A pressure cooker encounter is guaranteed.

However Muirhead insists there is no additional pressure in trying to become Britain’s first curling gold medallist since Rhona Martin in 2002, when 11-year old Muirhead was allowed to stay up and watch in the early hours.

“We all know what Rhona did for the sport in 2002. She put it on the map and changed everything for the people that followed her,” adds Muirhead. “It’s not a burden. What she did led to the funding we receive and the facilities we get to train on. We may not be in this position if not for her.”

l Can Eve Muirhead win Britain’s fifth medal? Watch her curling semi-final live on Eurosport 2 at 11am Friday. Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games at Eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app