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Credit shared among rink as bronze medal is won

Anna Sloan is far too polite to say it out loud but as Eve Muirhead crouched over the final stone on the final end of Great Britain's Olympic curling bronze medal match with Switzerland, the Scot knew already how it would turn out.

Anna Sloan of Great Britain had plenty of confidence in her side to make the crucial shots and secure relative success in Sochi. Picture: EPA
Anna Sloan of Great Britain had plenty of confidence in her side to make the crucial shots and secure relative success in Sochi. Picture: EPA

Muirhead, Britain's skip, was never going to miss, Sloan insisted, albeit her confidence in that statement had been bolstered by hindsight, with her side having won the match and the bronze medal.

"I never had any doubt she would make that shot," said Sloan. "Eve always told us, give me a draw and I'll make it. I knew she would, there is no-one else in the world I'd trust more to make that shot than her."

Britain's bronze medal was not all just about the performance of Muirhead, of course. Sloan, the vice skip, second Vicki Adams and lead Claire Hamilton all played their part in the success in Sochi, while alternate Lauren Gray should take some of the credit too.

Having missed out on a shot at gold following defeat by Canada in the semi-finals, the British rink showed more assuredness against the Swiss yesterday.

Mirjam Ott, the Swiss skip, is a veteran of the sport and nearly 20 years Muirhead's senior, with two Olympic silver medals to her name. She had also enjoyed a win over the British rink during the round-robin stage and made a strong start to their latest meeting - blanking the opening end and playing an expert tap to take an 2-0 advantage.

Muirhead reduced the deficit by one in the next end before another expert draw from Ott regained her two-point lead. However, Muirhead did not panic and a double take-out in the fifth end restored parity and the Swiss could only score one in the sixth.

Muirhead's patient approach, so different to the skip who made her Olympic debut in Vancouver four years ago, then paid dividends. The Scot took greater control in the closing ends of the match after she took the hammer in the sixth, taking advantage of an errant shot from Ott.

Muirhead was able to produce a series of excellent shots as the British rink built momentum and tied for 5-5, before the skip then secured a lead with a particularly impressive draw behind a guard during the eighth end. She then completed a regulation draw with her last stone to secure victory.

Adams added: "The last couple of days have been a complete mix of emotions but we knew that the best thing was to put the other game [against Canada] behind us and come in fighting because we desperately wanted the medal."

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