Muirhead ready for physical and mental battle in Sochi

Eve Muirhead has been putting hours in at the gym in pursuit of Olympic curling gold - but admits the mental battle might be where her podium hopes are decided.

Muirhead's rink - Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton and Anna Sloan - arrive in Sochi as world champions but the path to another gold is far from easy.

While medals in some sports will be decided in seconds, Muirhead and her team-mates could spend up to 35 hours on the ice in pursuit of glory.

"Bobsleigh or luge are over in a few seconds but in curling you are out on the ice for two-and-a-half hours every game," she said.

"It's physically tough and mentally very demanding, your brain can feel absolutely frazzled at the end of the day and it's a very long tournament, you just can't afford to lose any focus.

"It's the same for everyone and it's a very wide open event. Obviously going in as world champions there will be a target on our backs and you've got Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and China who will be as confident as us.

"There's lots of teams in contention who are going there thinking they can win."

Muirhead's rink will start their campaign on February 10 against Margaretha Sigfridsson's Sweden, the team that beat them in last year's European Championship final, their only defeat at the event.

Eight more round robin matches then follow over eight days, with the aim of making the top four teams that advance to the semis.

"It’s important we break the Olympics down to two parts, the qualifying then the play-offs and semi-finals are like a new event," added Muirhead.

"We've trained hard for this, we know we are capable.

"It's going to be tough but I don't mind pressure, I love playing under pressure.

"We know if we play our best as a team we’ll be near the top and as long as there’s no regrets then we can be happy."

© Sportsbeat 2014