Winter Olympics: Women’s curling team claim Great Britain’s only gold

Great Britain had a golden finish to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics with Eve Muirhead’s women’s curlers crushing Japan 10-3 in Sunday’s final.

Muirhead brought watching British team-mates in the Ice Cube to their feet as she scored a superb four in the seventh end to effectively clinch the title.

It emulates the gold won by Rhona Howie’s team at Salt Lake City in 2002.

Team GB end the Games with two medals after Bruce Mouat’s men won curling silver on Saturday.

Skip Muirhead, who won bronze in 2014, finally has a gold medal at her fourth Olympics after returning from hip surgery, while Vicky Wright, Jen Dodds, and Hailey Duff are champions at their first attempt.

“It’s a dream come true,” Muirhead, who shed a tear or two on the medal podium, told BBC Sport. “That was my third semi-final, and the two I lost were hard but I bounced back and here we are. We are Olympic champions. It’s such a special moment.”

A gold medal caps an incredible 12 months for Muirhead, who led Scotland to eighth at the World Championships last year.

After that disappointment nine players were put into a squad selection process and Muirhead, Wright, Dodds, and Duff emerged. They went on to win the European Championships in December before sealing their spot in Beijing in a tense qualifier just weeks before the Games.

Resilience was also key all the way through the tournament as they took the title in a manner consistent with the champion side of 2002, who needed a tie-breaker match to make the last four.

Muirhead and her team squeezed into the semi-finals with a record of five wins and four defeats from their nine round-robin matches.

They faced defending Olympic champions Sweden in the last four and won a thriller 12-11 after the match went to an extra end.

In the final they were favourites against a Japan team who had stunned world champions Switzerland in their semi-final, and they were ruthless.

A perfectly executed two in the opening end with the hammer (last-stone advantage) put them in control, and crucially Muirhead pulled off a superb draw to steal a shot in the fifth end and a 4-1 lead after five of the 10 scheduled ends.

That left Japan, who had beaten GB to bronze four years ago, chasing the game, and when skip Satsuki Fujisawa missed a good chance to hit back in the sixth end, the result seemed inevitable.

The decisive four came in the next end and, though the rules dictated Japan could not concede before the eighth, their hopes were all but extinguished.

As Muirhead’s final shot took out a Japanese stone to lie four, the British contingent in the stands – including the men’s silver-medal winning team – jumped to their feet in jubilation, knowing the significance of the play.

Britain’s domination continued with a two in the ninth end which forced Japan to concede defeat one end early.

‘It doesn’t feel real’ – reaction

Third Vicky Wright: “It doesn’t feel real. We have all had amazing support, we cannot thank our friends and family enough for everything they have done, everyone who has been behind us to make this dream become real.”

Second Jen Dodds: “I don’t think it’s going to sink in for a while. I’m so proud of these girls and the way they played in that final and the whole week.

“We built on every game, we got more confidence every game. Hopefully that was slightly less stressful that the semi-final for all our families.”

Lead Hailey Duff: “You hope you can close out the game but you always have to really focus, and that’s what we did. I don’t know what’s happened!”

GB show ‘strength and resilience’

Britain’s former curling world champion Jackie Lockhart on BBC TV

I can’t be any happier for both the women and the men. What a result for British curling. It was such a dominating performance [from the women].

What a journey they have been through in these last couple of years and it just shows you the strength and resilience you have to have to make it all the way through.

Great Britain continued to come back when things weren’t working for them. It’s a fairy-tale story.

Source: bbc

leave a reply