Winter Olympics 2014: Team GB win fourth medal in Sochi after Eve Muirhead's women curlers clinch bronze

Eve Muirhead's team beat Switzerland in the bronze medal match

ice cube curling centre

When Eve Muirhead rolled the final stone of a tumultuous dozen days to a gentle halt in the middle of the button, covering the Olympic rings painted on the ice, it won her a bronze medal and secured her and her team-mates a place in British Olympic history.

Britain is now guaranteed four medals at this Games and that matches the number collected 90 years ago at the very first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, their highest tally. If David Murdoch wins gold in Friday’s men’s curling final then it will be the first time Britain has won two gold medals at a Winter Olympics and so make it their greatest Games.

Four appears a modest haul, certainly compared to the 65 amassed in London in 2012, but it is four times as many as four years ago and for a nation with a limited winter sport history it is a significant step. There may be more too; on Friday evening Elise Christie will contend her best event, the 1,000m, in the fast-forward lottery that is short-track speed skating and over the weekend Britain’s four-man bob will seek to transfer their speed in practice – they were fastest on Thursday – into competition. Muirhead is competing in a winter sport where Britain has history. Sitting up in the coaches’ box was Rhona Howie, gold winner a dozen years ago. Muirhead arrived here with hopes of following Howie to gold but bronze was a creditable achievement and one greeted with no little relief.

The night before, in the wake of that day’s crushing semi-final defeat by Canada, the four, Muirhead, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Claire Hamilton, gathered in the team’s apartment and let the emotion out.

Great Britain's Anna Sloan, Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton celebrate after winning the Women's Curling Bronze Medal Game at the Ice Cube Curling Center Great Britain's Anna Sloan, Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton celebrate after winning the Women's Curling Bronze Medal Game at the Ice Cube Curling Center

“We went back and had a chat with the coaches about an hour later,” said Adams. “We all cried. We were all really upset, just devastated and we had to let it out. There was no point bottling it up because that would have taken it into the game.”

There were more tears after the bronze medal match against the Swiss. It was a tense, tight affair that Britain never led until the eighth end. The closing out of ends has been an issue for them here. In their final round-robin match they gifted Denmark three shots and the match, which meant a semi-final against the Canadian favourites – who duly won gold – rather than the more beatable Swedes.

Team Muirhead got it right. They took two shots on the eighth end, handed the hammer over and restricted the Swiss to a single shot on the penultimate end. It meant the scores were tied for the final end but Britain had the hammer and Muirhead did the necessary to take a 6-5 victory.

She has displayed little emotion throughout the Games but after turning to wave at her parents and then hugging her team-mates, it came out.

“It’s huge relief, maybe I come across as a bit stern faced, quite focused – but I am,” she said. “Inside though maybe I’m not as hard as everyone likes to think I am. It’s tough out there – mentally and physically – but as a team what a fantastic show we put on. Relief is an understatement.”

Eve Muirhead in action in the bronze medal match, which Team GB won, beating Switzerland Eve Muirhead in action in the bronze medal match, which Team GB won, beating Switzerland  

Her rink have an average age of 23 – the youngest here – and will seek to improve on bronze in 2018. But they will not be defending their world title next month. In an oddity of the sport, it is not possible to compete in the Olympics and the Scottish championships because of fixture and training clashes. It is the Scottish champions who go to the worlds and Muirhead’s rink no longer hold that title. An Olympic bronze is no little consolation.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil