We may still be trying to cling on to the last of summer but there’s no doubt that winter is coming and that means that winter sports will soon be in the headlines. This winter in particular will feature heavily in the sports news as Team GB head to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
For Perth, there’s added interest in the curling as two local families of curlers will be heading to the Far East to represent Team GB in February. You may remember earlier this year we spoke to Kyle Smith – skip for Team Smith – about his hopes to be selected to represent Great Britain at the Winter Olympics. That dream will be realised as he and his teammates; brother Cammy, Thomas and Glen Muirhead, and Kyle Waddell will take to the ice to compete for a medal in South Korea at the beginning of next year.
And that’s not all! Once again Eve Muirhead – Thomas and Glen’s sister – will skip Team GB’s women’s curlers and will be looking to better Team Muirhead’s fantastic bronze medal in Sochi back in the 2014 Winter Olympics. So, it really will be a Perthshire family affair in Pyeongchang next February as three Muirhead siblings and a couple of Smith’s fly the flag for the Fair City.
All of the curlers were regulars on the ice at Dewars Centre until the new centre of excellence opened in Stirling but they’re all still locals to Perthshire and have been supported by Live Active Leisure at some point during their careers. Eve is one of the highest profile successes of the Talented Athlete Scheme, and the Olympic bronze-medallist will be hoping that both she and her siblings find some success in the Men’s and Women’s curling events which both get underway on Valentines’ Day 2018.
Perth’s representation doesn’t stop there either, as the Chef de Mission for Pyeongchang 2018 also hails from these parts. Mike Hay, a former World Championship silver-medallist himself, led Team GB in Sochi 2014 and will do so again in Pyeongchang in February. I’m confident that we have the talent on this team to better the four medals we enjoyed in Sochi. Mike was Deputy Chef de Mission at Rio 2016 too and he’ll be looking to try and better Team GB’s joint-best medal haul which was achieved in Sochi.
“It was a great honour to be asked by our chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson, and his board to lead our delegation in Pyeongchang. I’ve been to Seoul and Pyeongchang a number of times in the lead up to these Games and I’ve no doubt it will be one of the best Games yet.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the athletes already, but I’m confident that we have the talent on this team to better the four medals we enjoyed in Sochi last time out.
“In terms of the curling, I know that the competition is going to be very tough but both teams have the potential to make the playoffs. Eve and her team have an impressive international record and she’ll want to improve on her bronze four years ago.
“Kyle and his young team don’t have the same international experience that some of their rivals may have but I think they might surprise a few people – they have a very impressive game.”
And Mike is optimistic about Perth’s sporting talent showing just how good they are on the world stage and he’s hopeful that a medal from either Eve and her team in the women’s event or Kyle and the boys in the men’s curling will inspire a new generation of kids to get on the ice.
“Perth has a great sporting heritage across a wide range of sports and I’m absolutely delighted we’ve got such strong representation in the Team GB Winter Olympics team. That representation could increase further if Alpine skier, Charlie Guest, continues her form from last season and makes the team.
“Every four years, the curling gets huge coverage from the Winter Olympics and I’ve absolutely no doubt that Eve and Kyle’s teams will be great ambassadors for the game and for the City of Perth.
“Winning a medal will make all the difference in bringing youngsters into the local rink at Dewars and hopefully it could inspire the next generation of Olympians from Perth!”
The preparation really starts now for Kyle, Cammy, Eve, Thomas and Glen and we’ll be following all of our local Olympians right through to the end of the Games in Pyeongchang next February. We’ll have exclusive interviews and up to date coverage of all Perthshire’s winter Olympians over the next few months!
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