Eve Muirhead hails gold medal achievements of Great Britain’s reconstructed curling team

The quartet on the ice and the one in reserve made for a winning combination in China

<p>Golden smiles: curlers (from left) Milli Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Eve Muirhead  </p>

Golden smiles: curlers (from left) Milli Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Eve Muirhead

Eve Muirhead paid tribute to the four women who swept by her side and dared to dream of Olympic gold, making her “a better curler and better person” in the process.

Team Muirhead has been constructed over four years – painfully and painstakingly – qualifying for the Games at the final attempt and going on to win gold.

The three debutants all bring something different to the table and have brought the best out of their skip, playing at her peak at her fourth Olympic Games.

Muirhead’s trusty vice-skip is Vicky Wright, who joined the team in 2019, a close confidant and first port of call for tactical plotting.

“When I first started curling with Vicky, she was actually lead on the team,” said Muirhead

“When there was a change made and she was put she was put to third, she didn’t want to do it! It took a lot of encouragement and persuasion to show she was one of the best thirds in the world.

“Now she’s standing on the podium with an Olympic gold medal round her neck.

“Vicky is the mother of the team. She is a nurse and worked during Covid – we have to take our hats off to her for that.

“Vicky is always someone we go to if we’re not feeling great because we get great advice, but she’s someone who just cares so much about everyone.”

Second Jennifer Dodds is the longest-serving member of the team, bouncing back from mixed doubles disappointment alongside Bruce Mouat.

“This is Jen’s 22nd game or something at this Olympics,” said Muirhead.

“Obviously she would have been disappointed to come away from the mixed doubles [without a medal], but that shows her strength as a character, to come away from finishing fourth to now having a gold medal around her neck.

“She’s an incredible curler. I’ve loved every minute of playing with her. It shows how strong she is. She’s such a great team player in every single way.”

Hailey Duff has been taken under Muirhead’s wing as the new lead on the team, capping a remarkable rise from “podium potential” standing in the squad to Olympic champion.

“Hailey is new to this team,” said Muirhead.

Team Muirhead has been constructed over four years en route to Olympic gold

“She’s a phenomenal curler. Through the years, she’s got so much talent. I can see her back here on the podium, the same with all these girls and the talent we have is second to none.”

Alternate Mili Smith, from an esteemed curling family like Muirhead’s, is an Olympic champion at the age of 23 and has made an invaluable contribution to the campaign.

“Mili has been such a great asset to this team as well,” said Muirhead.

“The talent that she has is also phenomenal. People don’t see it but the work that Mili puts in when it comes to helping us match stones, working alongside the coaches – if that didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be here.

“We’re a very strong team and when we come together, we’re capable of very great things.”

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