Lauren Gray believes the influence and experience Rhona Howie could be decisive in Great Britain's bid to end a 12-year wait for Olympic curling gold in Sochi.
Howie, who skipped Team GB to a famous victory in Salt Lake City 12 years ago, is now coach to Eve Muirhead's world champion rink and Gray, as team alternate, will be alongside her giving feedback on performance and future opponents.
“Rhona just brings so much experience to the table for us and really grounds us because she’s been there herself. We really respect what she tells us because she’s knows exactly the position that we’re in,” said Gray.
“That is her strongest quality, grounding us and the fact that she’s been there before and what she says means a lot to us.
“The main thing for us is consistency and before every game we always have the same routine and she always gives us really valuable words of advice.
“Obviously every game is different depending on team that we are playing but we always have the same routine and she just gives a lot of positive support.
“She really just encourages us to focus on the performance and realise everything else is not as important and I think she knows that herself.
“Obviously she’s got a winning formula so we just try and take on board what she says and try and make it work for us.”
It has been a memorable few months for 22-year old Gray – she was selected to compete for Team GB in Sochi the same day she graduated from the University of Glasgow with a 2:1 in English Literature and Politics.
And she revealed a timely motivational chat from Britain's greatest Olympian and fellow Scot, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, has her brimming with expectation.
“Last month we had a talk from Sir Chris Hoy at Stirling University and he gave us a lot of advice on how to handle the external pressures of the games and now I just can’t wait," added Gray.
“I think we all just feel a lot more confident that we’re ready to deal with what comes at us because having been at four Games and won six golds, he knows what he’s talking about.
“I think we’re all going in with a strategy now on how to deal with everything that comes our way and we all feel a bit more relaxed.”
Great Britain's curlers are due to arrive in Sochi later this week, with their opening game against Sweden, the rink that beat them in last year's European Championships.
© Sportsbeat 2014