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Getting to know Team Muirhead

 

Curling

Getting to know Team Muirhead

09 February 2018 / 15:37

Team Muirhead - curling

Eve Muirhead

Age: 27

Hometown: Blair Atholl

Favourite healthy food: Parsnips

Lauren Gray

Age: 26

Hometown: Balfron

Favourite healthy food: Bananas

Vicki Adams

Age: 28

Hometown: Stranraer

Favourite healthy food: Blueberries

Anna Sloan

Age: 27

Hometown: Lockerbie

Favourite healthy food: Mango

Team GB debut as a quartet: PyeongChang 2018

Interesting fact: Eve and Vicki follow gluten free diets

A bronze medal at the last Olympic Winter Games, world bronze last March and European gold as recently as November 2017 – Eve Muirhead will lead her rink to PyeongChang in confident mood.

Muirhead was joined by Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton when winning that Olympic bronze four years ago – with Lauren Gray the alternate.

Four years on and Team Muirhead has undergone some subtle changes ahead of their PyeongChang campaign, with Gray replacing Hamilton in the rink and Kelly Schafer coming in as the alternate.

PyeongChang will be Muirhead’s third time skipping at the Olympics after finishing seventh at Vancouver 2010 and third in Sochi.

Should she continue that level of improvement then there is only one place Team Muirhead will end up come the end of competition in PyeongChang – but the Scot knows a gold medal does not just fall into your lap.

“This past year we have had a really good solid year, we’ve had a lot of really consistent results, qualifying at the majority of events we’ve played in,” she said.

“Winning several medals, at the World Championships and also the European championships.

“All in all I think we planned our season pretty well and managed to get a good amount of training, competitions and also rest and recovery.

“So hopefully when we go into PyeongChang where we’re all fighting fit and in the best position possible.”

Muirhead has led rinks to medals at each of the last eight European Championships, with three world medals also in her trophy cabinet – one of each colour.

Adams has been by Muirhead’s side for many of those triumphs and the 28-year-old knows what it takes to be an Olympian.

“Commitment I think is one of the major values needed, and discipline,” she said. “And also balance and enjoyment. I think if you don't enjoy something then you’re never going to be successful.

“I think we’re lucky that we’re a team with the same objectives and we enjoy playing together and we try and get the best out of each other, which is really important to us.

“They’re maybe not all the ingredients but the main ingredients for us to be as successful as possible.”

Scotland – whose rink were selected in its entirety to represent Team GB in PyeongChang – beat Sweden in that European Championship final last November, in a match that saw them score points in each of the last three ends to edge to victory.

It’s that concentration and will to win that has become a trademark of Team Muirhead but what is it in their training regime that allows them to go the distance in matches?

“Curling is a very physical sport and it’s probably a lot more physical than people see it to be,” said Gray. “If you can imagine being on the ice for up to three hours for one game and sometimes two to three games a day, you’re constantly working, you’re constantly burning mental and physical energy.

“So it’s essential we’re as fit as we can be so we’re the same at the start of a competition as what we are at the end of a competition – so we last and we’re just as strong.

“For us a daily basis we’ll do a team session, maybe two/three times a week, we’re also throw stones individually twice a day for the other days and also gym work as well on top of that.

“So we’re very busy, it’s very, very hard work, it’s not all glamorous as what it seems, it’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears as well behind the scenes.”

It’s not just training that makes the difference on the ice, though, with what you eat away from the scene of battle also affecting performance.

“For us healthy eating is all about fuel,” said Sloan. “We have a very hectic training schedule, a lot of gym work on ice, there’s a lot of energy burned during that.

“So it’s all about fuel and getting the right balance of all the different parts of your diet. Maintaining a quite high calorie intake with all the different food groups in it is massively important to maintain our level of training.”

But with Muirhead and Adams both suffering from coeliac disease – meaning they have to exclude gluten from their diet – how do they work that into their nutrition plan?

“Being coeliac doesn’t affect my training really, it was something that I got on top of very quickly and I managed to adapt my diet to help that,” added Muirhead.

“It just basically means cutting out all food sources that have gluten in it but I think we know now so many different places accommodate for that and it’s very easy to get gluten free products on the shelves nowadays.

“Before the gym you want to get a high carbohydrate meal into yourself – porridge is my go-to, I know a lot of the girls love porridge as well.

“After the gym you want to get a balance of protein, carbohydrate and I guess fats as well into your body, so usually some scrambled egg, maybe some smoked salmon, maybe on some brown bread.

“Lunch is sometimes salads, wraps, just a good variety of sources along with some protein as well, maybe chicken or tuna.

“And then dinner you always want to juggle between fish, chicken and red meats as well, along with veg and potatoes and rice.

“We’re really just trying to get as much of all the different varieties of food in your diet as possible.”

Keep track of Team Muirhead’s progress on the ice in PyeonChang as they begin their quest for gold against Olympic Athletes from Russia at 05:05 (UK time) on Wednesday, February 14.