Former world curling champion Jackie Lockhart is adamant Anna Sloan’s previous experiences as a skip will be invaluable for Eve Muirhead as they bid to end 12 years of Olympic hurt for Britain.
Sloan followed Lockhart, who won global gold as Scotland skip in 2002, by becoming a senior world champion back in March in Latvia as third in Muirhead’s rink.
It was a case of third time lucky for the 22-year-old after a finish of ninth on her World Championship debut as Scotland skip in 2011 and then sixth under Muirhead a year later.
But it wasn’t the first time she has come together with the current Scottish skip and succeeded with Sloan part of Muirhead’s rink that won world junior gold in 2009 and 2011.
And Lockhart is adamant that having a skip in Sloan, her 2011 rink, which included current teammates Claire Hamilton and Vicki Williams, defeated Muirhead’s on route to the Scottish title, greatly aids Britain’s bid in Sochi.
“Your vice skipper and the girl who plays third brings huge support to you, you rely on them for playing the shot and tactically helping you out when it’s your turn to play,” said Lockhart.
“Anna has skipped herself so that will help, and skipping can sometimes be a very lonely place. You are up the other end and no one is there to keep lifting you up.
“So that’s the position of third and Anna having done both will be very aware of what’s needed when the time comes. Together the team did a fantastic job at the World Championships.
“I think they have got a huge chance of medalling at the Olympics. They have put a lot of hard work in, and I’m really looking forward to being able to commentate on them.
“I know all the girls, I know all of the teams that are going out there so that will be enjoyable for me and I have my fingers crossed for them.”
Sloan is preparing for her first Olympics with Lockhart, Muirhead, Kelly Wood, Lorna Vevers and Anne Laird the team that finished seventh at the last Games in Vancouver in 2010.
They failed to deliver Britain’s first Olympic curling medal since Rhona Martin’s famous victory at Salt Lake City 2002 but Lockhart insists Sloan would have learnt from 2010 even though she wasn’t on the team.
“This is their best chance since 2002, I think in 2010 we trained as much as we could and did a lot of different things that we hadn’t done before,” said Lockhart.
“We’ve learnt a lot from that, and the girls have taken a lot on board and they have progressed tenfold since then, so they have a huge chance.”
© Sportsbeat 2013