How curling queen Eve Muirhead led Team GB to Winter Olympic glory – Daily Mail

Clutching her gold medal after leading her women’s curling team to a triumphant performance at the Winter Olympics, ‘ice queen’ Eve Muirhead has certainly come a long way from the farmer’s daughter with makeshift curling shoes. 

Growing up in a small village in rural Scotland, Eve used to glue milk cartons to her trainers to create curling shoes and only received her first pair second-hand from her grandmother when she was a teenager.

But that didn’t stop her natural talent from shining through and, by the time she was 19, she had won an unprecedented four gold medals at junior World Championships and a place on Team GB for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. 

Although she chose to pursue curling, Eve, 31, whose father was also a curler, is multi-talented. She won golfing scholarships to two US universities (she continues to play the sport for fun) and spendsher free time practising the bagpipe.   

Muirhead put curling on the map when she appeared in a racy Women of Curling Calendar back in 2013 – and has even strutted her stuff in a New York fashion show as a guest of fellow Scot Sean Connery.

Fresh off her incredible win in Beijing, which she called ‘a dream come true’ for herself and her team, the champion will return to her home in Stirling where she will take a well-earned break from her extensive ice training.

Eve teared up as she posed the podium during the women’s curling victory ceremony at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games

Scottish curler Eve Muirhead, 31, (pictured as a child) who lives in Stirling, led Team GB to the joint-biggest winning margin in a final since the sport was reintroduced in 1998 at the Beijing Winter Olympics 

Eve was raised on a farm in Perth which the Olympian regularly visits and spends time shooting, lambing and hanging out with their beloved dogs 

Eve was raised on a farm in Perth with parents Gordon and Lin and brothers Glen and Thomas (pictured)

Born in a rural village near Perth, Eve is the daughter of international curler and world champion Gordon Muirhead – who won a gold medal at the 1994 European Curling Championships. 

Her mother, Lin, raised Eve and her two brothers Glen and Thomas on their family farm, which the Olympian regularly visits and spends time shooting, lambing and hanging out with their beloved Border Collies.   

Eve believes that her early life on the farm has hugely influenced her curling career, and that the sport runs through her family – with her brother, grandfather and his brother all keen curlers. 

‘The image of curling is changing but the link between the sport and farming down the years is obvious’, she told The Courier earlier this month. 

Eve was the youngest ever skip to win an Olympic curling medal before leading Team GB to Winter Olympic glory 

How Rhona Howie inspired Eve Muirhead 20 years on from her iconic Winter Olympic win

Eve Muirhead’s led her women’s curlers to Team GB’s first gold medal of the Winter Olympics in a victory reminiscent of the famous gold won by Rhona Howie’s curling team at Salt Lake City 20 years ago.

The 55-year-old British curler is most famous for skipping the British women’s team at the 2002 Winter Olympics, where the team claimed the gold medal.  

The dramatic final stone of the Salt Lake Games is widely thought to have broadened the appeal of what had previously been little more than an obscure Scottish pastime.

Rhona Howie is most famous for skipping the British women’s team at the 2002 Winter Olympics, where the team claimed the gold medal.

Muirhead previously spoke of watching the moment Howie clinched the gold medal, keeping a British TV audience of six million people up late at home to watch events unfold across the Atlantic. 

‘Mum and Dad let us stay up to watch the final even though we had school early the next morning,’ said Muirhead. ‘It was fantastic. Ever since that moment, you want to go there and do it yourself. It inspired me, for sure.’ 

Howie coached Muirhead ahead of winning her bronze medal at Sochi 2014, when she became the youngest skip to win an Olympic medal at 19. 

Having remained a friend and mentor of Eve, she praised the athlete after bagging the first curling gold in 20 years and Team GB’s first gold of the Games in Beijing.

 ’20 years has been long enough,’ said Howie. ‘It was emotional.

‘I’ve known Eve for so long and I’m just so happy for her, knowing what she’s gone through in the last year. 

‘She’s very driven and very determined and has the resilience to just keep fighting. She has the temperament that leads a team so well.

‘Eve can be hard on them but you need to be. She encourages and supports and gets the best out of each player.’

‘A lot of farmers curl. It’s a very social sport and you meet a lot of people through it – work hard through the day, curl at night and have a drink with your opponents afterwards.’ 

Her own career began at the Atholl Rink in Pitlochry, where she would practise for hours before being recruited for the Perth and Kinross squad and national academy a year later. 

In the early days, Eve would super-glue a milk carton to the bottom of a pair of trainers to wear on the ice because her parents refused to splash out hundreds on pricey curling shoes.  

Eve first appeared on the world curling scene at the 2007 World Junior Women’s Curling Championships as a third. The following year she skipped – the curling term for captain – her own team and won all her games.  

By December 2009, Muirhead had already bagged the BBC Scotland Young Sports Personality of the year for her achievements in curling. 

In 2010, Eve, who spent much of her childhood playing golf competitively, turned down the chance to add the title of professional golfer to her already long list of achievements.

By the age of 19, Eve had already bagged a spot in the final group of the Under-16 Scottish Girls at Auchterarder golf club and played for Scottish Schools against England. 

She was offered two separate golfing scholarships by top American universities, but turned down the chance to continue her curling career. 

‘I knew that I had a great opportunity with curling,’ she said previously. ‘With golf, it’s tough to make it to the top. I knew from a young age that I had good opportunities to do well in curling.’ 

As well as an impressive athletic career, Eve is an accomplished bagpipe player -having played in competitions throughout her childhood after receiving lessons as a tenth birthday gift from her mum.  

‘It might not seem like a cool thing for a schoolgirl to be doing,’ she told the Times. ‘But it meant that you could skive off other classes to attend lessons!’

As her skills improved Eve progressed through musical grades and played with a band, eventually competing at four World Championships and becoming ambassador for Piping Live – a festival dedicated to playing the bagpipes.    

In 2010, Eve was selected as skip for the Great Britain Women’s curling team at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada – where she admitted to eating junk food every day. 

‘I was probably at McDonald’s every day in the Olympic village, I don’t think I set foot in the gym once. I even took my own box of Irn Bru!’ she told the Times.  

Despite the team failing to qualify for the semi-finals and breaking her broom on the ice, Eve received mass publicity after her first Olympic appearance, earning the nickname ‘ice queen’.   

Three years later Eve became the youngest skip to ever win the World Women’s Curling Championship after defeating Sweden. 

By 2013, the 23-year-old athlete had cemented her status as a trailblazer in women’s sport and became a ‘pin-up’ for the sport when she was photographed in a mini-kilted pose for a racy curling-themed calendar. 

Eve, who has the Olympic rings tattooed low down on her back, has continued to show off her fun-spirited nature and appeared in the this year’s Curling Cares Calendar posing in a tartan gown in a field of sheep.  

As well as an impressive athletic career, Eve is an accomplished bagpipe player -having played in competitions throughout her childhood after receiving lessons as a tenth birthday gift from her mum

Eve, who spent much of her childhood playing golf competitively, turned down the chance to add the title of professional golfer to her already long list of achievements after declining offers for golf scholarships from top US universities 

Eve’s career began at the Atholl Rink in Pitlochry, where she would practice for hours before being recruited for the Perth and Kinross squad and national academy a year later. She is pictured at the family farm in Perth 

Eve, pictured shooting on her family farm on Boxing Day this year, says growing up in rural Perth had a huge impact on her career 

Eve won the Bronze Medal in Sochi as the Great Britain team skip, making her the youngest ever skip to win an Olympic medal. 

‘You’re always going to have pressure going into the Olympics as world champions,’ said Eve ahead of the games. 

‘But if someone was to ask you if you want to go in ranked No 1 or ranked in the middle of the table, you know which you’re going to pick. We enjoy the pressure and it’s something we’ve learned to deal with over the past few years.’  

Muirhead would next make it to the Worlds in 2015 and 2017, taking home a bronze medal after both tournaments.   

Eve had a difficult year in 2018, undergoing surgery to help deal with debilitating pain and arthritis in one of her hips – admitting she would have to take better care of her body ahead of Beijing 2022. 

‘For the rest of my career, I’m going to have to be pretty sensible and listen to my body,’ Muirhead, told the BBC.

‘It’s about looking at our calendar and the events that are really high priority. The European Championships for us are, so I’m going to take it easy leading in to those.

Fresh off her incredible win in Beijing, which she called ‘a dream come true’ for herself and her team, the champion will return to her home in Stirling where she will take a well-earned break from her extensive ice training

In 2010, Eve was selected as skip for the Great Britain Women’s curling team at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada – where she admitted to eating junk food every day

Eve received an Honorary degree of Doctor of the University from the University of Stirling from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport in 2018

Great Britain’s Mili Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Eve Muirhead celebrate with the gold medal after victory in the Women’s Gold Medal at the the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games

‘It just got to the stage that I had to do something unless I just wanted to carry on not enjoying it and really going through a lot of pain.’ 

But her difficult year was improved after receiving an Honorary degree of Doctor of the University from the University of Stirling from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport. 

She received the award alongside 85 students at the University’s graduation ceremony at Inverness Cathedral.  

During lockdown Eve made the most of her musical skills by performing for her neighbours on Thursday nights for Clap for Carers. 

Muirhead was also appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to curling. 

Golden curls! Eve Muirhead leads her women’s curlers to Team GB’s FIRST gold medal of the Winter Olympics – 20 years after Rhona Martin’s iconic victory in the same event 

Great Britain – at last – has secured a Team GB gold medal of the Winter Olympics early Sunday in emphatic fashion – a day before the Games ended.

The women’s curling team took the country’s only gold for this Olympics and it was against Japan 10-3. A silver was won by the men’s team on Saturday.

Eve Muirhead, Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff and Mili Smith were the heroines of the hour at China‘s National Aquatics Centre.

The 50-strong Team GB faced flying home on Monday without podium honors to show for their efforts, but within the space of 24 hours, the curlers showed how it is done.

Skip Eve Muirhead, Vice Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff and Mili Smith celebrate after winning the match Sunday.

Men’s captain Bruce Mouat told Mail Online that even while waiting to board his flight to Beijing, he had been asked whether curling really could be regarded as a sport.

But both curling teams are bringing home the only country’s two gongs – and interest in the sport is likely to increase massively following the two medals.

For Muirhead, 31, of Stirling, who has captained Britain at three Olympics, the gold was a fitting prize after failing to medal before and using her experiences in leading a team of Olympic debutants at these games to a gold medal. 

‘I have waited a long time. Dreams do come true, and it’s all thanks to these girls who have helped me get here, and helped me become a better curler, a better person.

‘Finally we have managed to get that Olympic gold and yeah, it just doesn’t feel real.’

She said she appreciated the support back in Britain and hoped the sport would find new favor. ‘Thank you for everyone’s support. It’s support that we’ve never felt before. We love to get curling out there.

Wright, 28, also from Stirling, stepped away from the road to Beijing and went back to the NHS frontline to help with the battle against Covid-19 as a staff nurse in the Forth Valley. ‘It hasn’t sunk in at all yet. I got really emotional at the end there, it’s a dream come true’, she said.

In Beijing, Dodds became the first woman to represent Britain at two disciplines at the same Winter Olympics as she partnered Mouat in the mixed doubles event.

Vicky Wright of Team Great Britain competes during the Women’s Gold Medal match with Japan in Beijing 

The team and alternate (sub) Smith were only formed in December last year. Rhona Howe, who skippered, joked: ‘It took them 20 years…what took so long?’ 

Vice Vicky Wright of Britain and Hailey Duff of Britain celebrate after winning the game

She had been dreaming of competing at the Olympics since the age of eight and gave up her job as an office assistant to train full time at Gogar Park Curling Club in Edinburgh.

Duff, 25, from Forfar was born in New Zealand and was introduced to the sport by her father.

She worked as a buyer for a furniture company before enrolling on a sports and fitness degree with the Open University.

Former Olympic curler Jackie Lockhart, who at the match, told the BBC: ‘The Japanese girls just came up against a team who were on fire today. They brought their A game.

‘Just believe, just keep trying, Eve Muirhead has never stopped.’

The team and alternate (sub) Smith were only formed in December last year.

Rhona Howe, who skippered Team GB to its last curling gold in 2002, joked: ‘It took them 20 years…what took so long?’

She added: ‘Look what this team has achieved in less than a year. It’s phenomenal.’ 

Dodds said she was grateful to those who stayed up into the early hours to watch the gold medal victory. ‘Can I just say thank you to all our friends and families supporting us. They know how much this means to us and I’m sure they’re all jumping up and down in front of their TV screens just now.’ 

Dodds said: ‘ I don’t really know what’s happened. I don’t think it’s going to sink in for a while. I’m speechless.’ 

Japan’s Yurika Yoshida walks off the ice as Britain’s athletes celebrate at the end of the women’s curling final match between Japan and Britain Sunday in Beijing. 

Britain’s Eve Muirhead celebrates winning gold after the women’s curling final match with Japan in Beijing. 

But she added: ‘I’m so proud of these girls and the way they played in that final and the whole week. 

‘Losing our first game at the Olympics was not ideal, but we knew we played well and we just came back out fighting for the next game.”

‘I think we’ve just shown our grit and determination out there today because even in that final when we knew we were up in the game we knew we had to keep strong out there to get the win.’

Muirhead said: ‘It’s going to take a long time to sink, I think, because I’m not sure it has yet.

‘What a performance out there today. We saved our best game till last. It’s been a long time coming and I think for us as a team we’ve worked so hard to get here. I’m just so proud of them all.

‘It feels bizarre, to be honest. To think it was 20 years ago when Rhona made history in Great Britain by winning that gold medal. We’ve followed in her footsteps and done it 20 years later. It’s incredible, it really is.’

Wright added: ‘We were really confident going into that game. We prepared the exact same way we had prepared for every game and we just went out there and gave it our best.’ 

Team GB coach David Murdoch said: ‘It was a perfect performance, the composure and the calmness. What we discussed through the week was evident today and you could see all the girls were so relaxed. It was really the key to success today.’ 

‘Somethings are in the stars, right? They worked so hard and they deserve every moment of this because of the hard work they put in every day, the sacrifices they made, they deserve the moment.’ 

Sweden took the bronze after beating Switzerland 9-7.