Skip Jackson adds Olympic medallist Gray to world curling rink
Winter Sports

Skip Jackson adds Olympic medallist Gray to world curling rink

15 March 2019 / 11:25
Scottish skip Sophie Jackson hasn't had time to dwell on her curling World Championships debut this weekend.

Jackson beat three-time Olympian and 2014 bronze medallist Eve Muirhead to win the Scottish title in Perth.

But it looked like she’d miss out on the worlds because of her involvement in the World University Winter Games in Krasnoyarsk.  But selectors reversed that decision, allowing the 22-year old to compete in both events.

She finished just outside the medals in fourth at the Universiade in Russia and certainly isn’t short of match practice as she arrives in Silkeborg, where he rink will only their campaign against Japan on Saturday.

“It was a great experience to be a part of a multi sports games event, one which I’m sure will stand us in good stead for the future," said Jackson.

“It was disappointing for us to lose out on the chance of a medal but we will learn from that and take the lessons into the week ahead. 

“We feel in a good place to be competing at the World Championships, with the University Games being a great build up for us.

"We are really excited to make our debut and play against some really strong teams. I think it will be a great week for us to learn from the environment and the support staff we have around us, again building up our experience."

Third Naomi Brown, second Mili Smith and lead Sophie Sinclair complete Jackson's rink while Lauren Gray, an Olympic bronze medallist and world champion with Muirhead, is the alternate. The team is coached by 2014 Olympic silver medalist Tom Brewster.

“Lauren is an excellent addition to our team as our fifth player,” added Jackson.

“She has competed at the highest level of the game and is an extremely accomplished international player who has also had experience of being an alternate at the World Championships in 2013 and Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, winning gold and bronze respectively. 

“We are really looking forward to the World Championships and it is great to have Lauren on board as she will bring experience and support to the team, both on and off the ice, for our first campaign at the worlds.”
Lauren GrayGray (pictured above) hopes she can bring experience of the big stage to the youthful rink, who were world junior silver medallists two years ago.

“I was delighted to be asked and I am really excited to be supporting Sophie’s team at their first World Champs,” she said 

“It is a wonderful opportunity and always an honour to be representing your country, in any capacity and I am really looking forward to it and it is great to be part of the team and their endeavours to succeed.”  

It is the second season in a row that seven-time national champion Muirhead will not represent Scotland at the worlds, where she is three-time medallist, including gold in 2013.

She was absent from the national championships in 2018 due to Olympic duty in PyeongChang and then lost a play-off to Hannah Fleming’s rink on her return.

The British skip has endured a difficult 12 months with injuries, returning to the ice after hip surgery with a new-look team, Anna Sloan moving on after a decade in the rink.

Sportsbeat 2019