Eve Muirhead, the 23-year-old captain of Britain’s women’s curling team, said she was “gutted” Wednesday when a random piece of debris cost her a chance at her lifelong dream of Olympic gold.
The early miss by Eve Muirhead, daughter of 1992 Olympic curler Gordon Muirhead, dealt a blow to the British women from which, against the powerhouse Canadian team, they were never able to recover as they fell 6-4 in the semifinal round. It was a major disappointment for Muirhead who has been so focused on Olympic curling glory that she has turned down a career in professional golf to stick with curling, and has a tattoo of the Olympic rings on her back.
Muirhead and her teammates must now swallow their disappointment and regroup for Thursday’s match, when they will try to get past Switzerland to take a bronze medal back to the British isles.
It was on the first stone delivered by Eve Muirhead, one where she was aiming for a Canadian stone sitting the “house” target area — what Britain’s co-coach Mike Hey called “the easiest shot in the world” — that disaster struck the Scottish veteran who also represented Britain in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
In 2010, the seemingly star-crossed Muirhead broke a broom on the ice in frustration as Team GBR failed to get into the semifinals. This time, they made it to the semis, only for a random, nearly invisible hog’s hair to derail the hopes of gold medal match for Eve Muirhead and the British women.
The Eve Muirhead stone veered off course after striking the hair, used in the brooms that curlers employ to clean the ice in front of a sliding stone, and missed the Canadian stone completely. Against the Canadians, who have won all 10 games they have played in Sochi, the missed opportunity was too much to overcome.
“That pick up was brutal, losing a two. It was something you can’t control, one in a thousand,” Eve Muirhead said later. “It’s just unlucky there is nothing you can do. It was just a loose hair from hog hair brush. We didn’t see it until it was under the stone. We try to keep the ice as clean as we can but obviously we missed that bit today. It happens.”
Canada will now take on Sweden Thursday for the gold medal, which the British women have not captured since 2002.
“I’m gutted and the girls are gutted as well,” Eve Muirhead said. “I just don’t think that the curling Gods were with us.”
Heading into Thursday’s bronze medal match, Muirhead promised that the letdown after Wednesday’s defeat would not be a factor.
“We’ll go in to give it 110 per cent because, believe you me,” Eve Muirhead vowed, “I don’t want to go home without a medal round my neck.”