Meet the Team GB Curlers headed to PyeongChang 2018
Team Smith (men) and Team Muirhead (women) were the first Team GB athletes selected for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, named by the British Olympic Association in June earlier this year, but how much do you know about the teams and their captains (known as skippers, or skip, in the sport of curling). Before we start here’s some explanation of the key terms used in the sport:
- Brush – the device used to sweep the ice in the path of a moving stone
- Stone – each team takes turns sliding the heavy granite stones across the ice towards the house
- House – the rings or circles that the curlers aim their stones towards
- End – a portion of a curling game that is completed when each team has thrown eight stones and the score has been decided
- Lead – the first player of a team to deliver a pair of stones for their team in each end
- Skip – the player who determines the strategy and directs play for the team. The skip delivers the last pair of stones in each end
- Spare – an alternate player or substitute
- Third , vice-skip or mate – the third player on a team to throw two stones in each end. This player generally acts when the skip is delivering their stones and assists with shot selection decisions
Eve Muirhead, bronze medallist at this year’s World and European Championships, will be accompanied by Sochi team mates Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams, as well as Lauren Gray, who joined the team at the start of the 2016-17 season and was their spare at Sochi 2014. The team will be looking to improve on their bronze at the last Olympic Games in Russia, a result that saw Eve Muirhead enter the record books as the youngest skip to win a medal at the Olympic Games.
Skip Kyle Smith will be joined by Thomas Muirhead – who plays third and is the youngest brother of Eve – Kyle Waddell and youngest brother Cammy Smith as lead. Glen Muirhead, the eldest of the Muirhead siblings has been chosen as their spare, making it a real family affair. Following incredible displays on tour in Canada this year, becoming the first British men’s team to ever reach a Grand Slam Final, the team will make their Olympic debut in PyeongChang.
An impressive start to the season saw them win the OCT Oakville Classic before making it to the knockout stages at both the Stu Sells and Red Beer Classic in Canada, making them the leading British men’s team. Their season was brought to a close with a win over world number one ranked Team Edin (Sweden) in the final of the European Masters.
It’s almost unsurprising to learn that both team skips and all but one of the members of the men’s team come from curling dynasties and are the children of former World Champions. The exception to this, Kyle Waddell, also has heritage in the sport as grandfather Jimmy was a former European Champion.
For Eve Muirhead, set to compete in her third Olympic Winter Games, it’s been four years of persistent work to stay ahead of other domestic rivals and remain world class. Her hard work has been capped off by the opportunity to bring new meaning to the name “Team Muirhead”, going to PyeongChang 2018 with her two brothers.
The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games is set to run from 9-25 February and will see around 80 nations compete for 102 gold medals across 15 sporting disciplines.
Fans hoping to see the world’s best winter athletes, including Team GB curling hopefuls, can book their place in history with the official provider of Team GB tickets and travel packages, Team GB Live. Find out more here.