Emotional Eve Muirhead revels in ‘incredible’ curling gold at the Winter Olympics in Beijing

Emotional Eve Muirhead revels in ‘incredible’ curling gold at the Winter Olympics in Beijing


It has been a rough slide over black ice for Eve Muirhead, but with the brightest of glows she finally had her moment on Sunday. For the stone of destiny, read the rock of redemption and a magnificent gold medal mined from hard places.

It was a little before 11.30am local time, and four years after she blew a bronze against the same women, when Muirhead sent down her last delivery.

The jeopardy was long gone from their final by then, but at 8-3 up on Japan, she still carried that familiar and cold stare. It was never going to get away this time. 

Eve Muirhead helped Great Britain secure Olympic gold in the women's curling in Beijing

Eve Muirhead helped Great Britain secure Olympic gold in the women’s curling in Beijing

The gold was Britain's first medal at the competition with Muirhead ecstatic after the win

The gold was Britain’s first medal at the competition with Muirhead ecstatic after the win

Hard,’ she called, and scrubbing away, Jen Dodds and Hailey Duff did as they were told. At the back, studying the entrance to an unguarded house, Vicky Wright, a Covid nurse with a sense of bigger pictures, allowed a little grin to creep out.

The stone turned in from the right and when it was done creeping, their mission was accomplished – 10-3 winners on the morning, Olympic champions across the fortnight. And so their tears fell. And then fell some more.

At last, an easy day’s work for this quartet. At last, a gold medal for Team GB. At last, some peace in the mind of Muirhead, a 31-year-old tormented until 11.30am on Sunday by thoughts of shots and medals gone by.

‘It has been a rollercoaster journey for the whole team here,’ she later told us. ‘It was hard. There were days when I just wanted to throw my shoes in the cupboard and not take them out again. There have been ups and downs, but here we are with gold medals round our necks.’

The GB team show off their medals after they secured the victory at the Ice Cube in China

The GB team show off their medals after they secured the victory at the Ice Cube in China

Muirhead speak to the media with a huge smile on her face after her triumph on Sunday

Muirhead speak to the media with a huge smile on her face after her triumph on Sunday

To get what she meant, you need to understand the difficulties that have accompanied her and crew in this peculiar and alluring game.

Just getting here was a slow crawl over broken glass – they failed to qualify at the world championships last year, where they were eighth, and in the shake up Muirhead’s own place in a team bearing her name was less than certain.

A European title in November helped, but even then an outbreak of Covid in the team and a qualifying defeat meant it was with some relief that they eventually staggered to China.

What followed here has been a tale of the bizarre, when you consider its super finale. Goodness, they lost four of nine round-robin games and needed complex mathematics to advance to the semi-finals, in which they trailed Sweden 4-0 after one end. If there was a miracle in that story of undulations, it is that no one got run over by a loose stone. 

But what a crescendo. And what a tribute to perseverance, with this exceptional gold medal coming 20 years after Rhona Martin brought curling to our attention in Salt Lake City.

‘We’ve just seen her in the corridor,’ said Dodds. ‘She was giving us all hugs.’

That moment, that Stone of Destiny from 2002, has long been the standard-bearer in Britain’s relationship with this weird and wonderful cousin of the summer Olympics, and three times before these Games has Muirhead tried to make her own mark. 

Scottish-born Muirhead hold her arms in the air after she find out she has clinched gold

Scottish-born Muirhead hold her arms in the air after she find out she has clinched gold

The 31-year-old watches closely to see if her effort is enough to secure the gold medal

The 31-year-old watches closely to see if her effort is enough to secure the gold medal

She was a teenager of 19 in 2010, the youngest skip to get a medal in taking bronze four years later, and a picture of devastation in 2018, when she blamed herself for missing the shot to beat Japan in the match for third.

‘It took me a long time to get over it and even now I still think of that shot,’ she said on Sunday, holding her gold. ‘Hopefully it will be out of my mind now.’

It ought to be, for in the final Muirhead and team produced a near-perfect performance after all the difficulties in getting there. They were two up through one end, 4-1 after five and having a rave at 8-2 following a four in the seventh. The double off Muirhead’s last stone in the ninth made it 10-3 and the Japanese team led by Satsuki Fujisawa threw in their brooms with an end to spare. Thrilling Eve, Wonder Curls – they’ll hear all of that for a while.

‘We definitely kept the best until last,’ Muirhead said. ‘I am so proud of the girls and how we played. 

It has been an emotional time for the star who at one stage was set to give the sport up

It has been an emotional time for the star who at one stage was set to give the sport up

‘I’m feeling was emotional for sure. I managed to hold it in until the flag was getting raised there. It’s a moment that I’ve been waiting for for so many years. I’ve been close many times but I just haven’t been over the line. The girls have helped me become a better curler and they’ve also helped me become a better person. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.. And it’s such an incredible, incredible moment.’

There haven’t been many for Britain at Beijing 2022. In fact, this and the silver from Bruce Mouat’s men’s team are the sum of it, beyond isolated tales of the plucky and the promising.

But this was a delight – a trip up to the top of a mountain after a walk through a swamp, for both Team Muirhead and Team GB. A fine way to drop the curtain on these strangest of Olympics. 

But Muirhead stuck to her guns and came out finding, to be rewarded with the ultimate prize

But Muirhead stuck to her guns and came out finding, to be rewarded with the ultimate prize



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