The first athletes have officially been selected for Team GB for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Eve Muirhead, who skipped her team (rink) to gold in the World Championships in March this year with a last stone victory over Sweden, will once again be joined by Claire Hamilton, Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams as they look to add Olympic gold in 2014 to their 2013 world title.
Eve Muirhead – skip
Claire Hamilton – lead
Vicki Adams – second
Anna Sloan – third
Muirhead made her Olympic debut when she skipped her rink at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games at the age of just 19, finishing seventh. Her teammate Sloan also has experience of competing for Team GB after she skipped her rink to gold at the 2009 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Poland.
Muirhead’s rink have been competing together in senior competitions since the 2011-12 season, winning the European title and finishing sixth in their first World Championship. They built on that success with wins at the World Championship and Players’ Championship last season.
Now all in their early 20s, the rink have been competing together for seven years in various teams throughout their junior careers. Adams was part of Muirhead’s rink in all three of her World Junior title wins as skip, with Sloan also present for two of their triumphs.
Hamilton joined Muirhead’s senior rink in late 2011 but had previously enjoyed success with Sloan as they won the 2011 Universiade for Great Britain and finished ninth at the World Championship the same year for Scotland.
Team GB have won two curling gold medals at past Olympic Winter Games, the most recent as Rhona Howie (previously known as Rhona Martin) skipped her rink to victory in a nail-biting final against Switzerland at the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics. Howie is now the current women’s Head Coach and is hoping to use her experience to guide the rink to success in Sochi.
The gold medal links continue as Howie’s coach from 2002, Mike Hay, is Team GB’s Chef de Mission for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Hay, a World Championship silver medallist himself, thinks Muirhead and her team are well set for success in Sochi.
Team GB’s Chef de Mission for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Mike Hay said:
“I am delighted to welcome the curlers as the first members of Team GB. They are reigning World Champions and earned the right for Team GB to be represented at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games with their performances at the past two World Championships.
“The 2013 season was their best ever, adding the Players’ Championships to their world crown so they know how to win and what it takes to be successful at major events.
“With Eve skipping the rink they also have Olympic experience to draw on from Vancouver 2010 so they are well equipped to challenge for medals in Sochi.”
Eve Muirhead, skip (born and lives: Stirling), said:
“I am thrilled to be part of Team GB in Sochi. This will be my second Olympics and I'm excited - having won the worlds this year we want to continue our winning streak.
“It's not often we get to compete as Team GB and, as proud as we are to compete for Scotland, it's great to be part of a British team too.”
Claire Hamilton, lead (born: Lockerbie, lives: Dumfries), commented:
“I am delighted to be selected as part of Team GB for Sochi. It is a dream come true to have the opportunity to compete at an Olympic Winter Games, especially when you get to share the experience with your teammates.
“I'd like to thank all of the coaches and support staff who have helped me so much along the way and my friends and family for their continued support.”
Vicki Adams, second (born: Edinburgh, lives: Alloa), added:
“I am absolutely delighted to be chosen to compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. All the hard work that has been put in by the team over the last two years has really paid off and is a dream come true.
“It would have been impossible to come this far without the support which we receive from British Curling, the sportscotland Institute of Sport, the help of both our Team Coach, Dave Hay, and our National Coach Rhona Howie. Their time and expertise really is priceless. Last but not least, all my friends and family who have travelled far and wide to support me during my curling career, it really is appreciated.
“Its great to be able to work towards the Olympics with these girls. Not only are they team mates, but also best friends. We all know what our final goal at the Olympics is, and are doing as much as we can to give ourselves the best chance.”
Anna Sloan, third (born and lives: Lockerbie), said:
“It is a huge relief and honour to be selected to be part of Team GB in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games. We have been working very hard throughout the off season both on ice and in the gym and are now ready to start the competition period in the build-up to the Games to ensure we are at our peak level of performance.
“The best thing about being part of a team is that you are with a group of people that all share the same passion and goals as you do. Whether it be being part of Team Muirhead or the whole of Team GB, we will all be able to support each other throughout the Olympic experience.”
Team GB Curling Team Leader Dave Crosbee said:
“I’d like to congratulate all the athletes in being selected, and they should be incredibly proud of their achievements so far, achievements that have resulted in their selections.
“It is thanks to the support from a number of partners including British Curling, The Royal Caledonian Curling Club, UK Sport, the sportscotland institute of sport and the National Lottery that our curlers are as well prepared for a major Games as they ever have been.”
British Curling Women’s Head Coach Rhona Howie said:
“Competing at an Olympics is the highlight of any athlete’s career and I’d like to congratulate each of the girls on their selection - they’re a very talented team and they all richly deserve their places on the flight to Sochi.
“I am proud to be their Head Coach and look forward to helping them continue on their journey to the Games.”