Great Britain’s women’s curling team powered to a 10-3 win over Japan to take gold on Sunday.
This was skipper Eve Muirhead’s fourth Olympics and she finally has the gold she’s so desperately wanted. The feat came 20 years after Great Britain’s last gold in curling, which came back at Salt Lake City 2002 when Rhona Martin’s rink won there.
« This is a moment I’ve dreamed of as a young child, » Muirhead said. « To have this moment now, and know that I followed in Rhona’s footsteps and have this gold medal around my neck, is something very, very special. »
Muirhead’s team of Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff and alternate Mili Smith, were dominant against Japan and the key moment came in the seventh end when Great Britain took four, to take an 8-2 lead. And they closed the match out to take a dominating 10-3 triumph.
The gold for Muirhead sits alongside her bronze from Sochi 2014 and helps mend the heartbreak of losing two semifinals. « It was emotional for sure, » Muirhead said. « I managed to hold (the tears) until the flag was getting raised.
« It’s a moment that I’ve been waiting for for so many years. The girls have helped me become a better curler. They’ve also helped me become a better person and without them I wouldn’t be here. »
The women’s team secured their knockout spot by the thinnest of margins after winning five of their nine round-robin matches. Heading into the final batch of games, Muirhead’s team needed to beat the ROC and rely on results elsewhere going their way. With the win-loss record-equaling out between Britain, Japan and Canada, it came down to the Draw Shot Challenge (which takes place before every game and rewards teams closest to the button) and Britain secured their spot in the semifinals by fewer than 10 centimeters ahead of Canada.
They then came back from four stones down in the first end to edge past Sweden 12-11 with the match needing an extra end.
And against Japan, the women picked up two points in the first end and controlled the scoreboard from there. They effectively clinched it in the seventh with that four to take an 8-2 lead, bringing the biggest cheer yet from the British fans in the crowd.
Japan could only manage one point in the eighth. When Muirhead took two in the ninth, the Japan captain Satsuki Fujisawa slid over to bump fists and concede. Another roar arose from the crowd, which included Great Britain’s men’s silver medalists.