Eve Muirhead aims to go one better in Swift Current

Eve Muirhead - Tom J Brydone
Eve Muirhead is leading Scotland into another World Championship (photo: Tom J Brydone (facebook.com/brydone images))

Olympic medallist. World champion. European champion. Multiple Grand Slam winner. Eve Muirhead’s won just about all there is to win in curling, but is still on the hunt for more.

She is skipping Scotland at yet another World Women’s Championship from Saturday in Swift Current, Canada, looking for a second gold medal after previously topping the podium in 2013.

The Roaring Game Blog recently spoke to Muirhead about the championship, the team’s preparations and her memories of Swift Current.


Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid) won all of their matches at the Scottish Championships in Perth last month to qualify for this event.

They thoroughly dominated most of their games, and avoided any round robin defeats (having lost to Teams Gina Aitken and Hazel Smith in 2o15).

I asked Muirhead what the biggest positives were from that event, and what they could take from it for Worlds.

“Going through the Scottish Championships unbeaten is something that’s not done a lot, and I think what we did well is we were consistently good from the start to the end,” she said.

“I’m not saying we were at our best; we know we can play better at the World Championships, and we are going to have to play a little bit better, but we’re definitely capable of that.

“So what we take from the Scottish is our consistent play and our attitude – we’re a team that never gets complacent one bit, and we’re very structured and organised.”


The team’s coach, Dave Hay, told me in Perth that they had the option of preparing for Worlds by playing in the Uiseong Masters event in Korea – but as it ran from March 4 to 11, it would have meant a great deal of travel in a short period of time with little to no recovery time.

Muirhead said: “I think it was an easy decision to say no. You do a calendar at the start of the year, you pick out the major events, the events you really want to play well in. You want to peak at those events.

“With Korea, if we were to go, I think it would put a big question mark on whether we were preparing correctly for the World Championship.”

However, next season could be different.

“I guess you could look at the big picture – if that event carries on we’ll definitely look at maybe attending next year if we can schedule it in right. But it all depends on what we can plan.

“With the Olympics being in Korea in 2018 and our team looking to be in the running for those, you’d want to get the chance to play a little bit in Korea to work out how to acclimatise, how many days before you’d need to go, that kind of thing.”

Team Muirhead with Coach David Hay - Tom J Brydone
Team Muirhead with coach Dave Hay (photo: Tom J Brydone)

But for now, the focus is purely on Swift Current – a place with fond memories for Muirhead, as the place where she won her first Worlds medal.

Having missed out on a medal with Great Britain at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, she won silver in Swift Current – Andrea Schöpp and Germany pipping her to gold.

I asked whether she had been back, and what her memories of the city were.

“I have been back once, not for a tournament though,” she said.

“My team-mate back in 2010, Kelly Wood, met the local mayor, that kind of kicked off and she now lives in Swift Current, has a kid and everything! So we stopped by once to see her.

“It brings back lots of good memories – I won my first Worlds medal at Swift Current. That was a silver so I want to go one better.

“It’ll be great to see Kelly again as I curled with her for a number of years.

“For her to move away was obviously a massive step but it’ll be good to see her again and relive some good memories.”

In terms of the difference between the Eve Muirhead that went to Swift Current in 2010 and the one competing in 2016, she said it was ‘huge’.

“Back then I would say I was a curler, not an athlete,” she explained.

“Now I’m more an athlete. I realised after the Vancouver Olympics, where we wanted medals and were capable of medals but didn’t [get them], we came back and I realised what I needed to do.

“It was a kick up the butt to train harder and practise harder, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.

“I realised what it takes to be a top class curler, and that’s what I’ve been doing the last few years.”


Another developing curler is Rachel Hannen, who was Team Muirhead’s alternate at the European Championships in November and – having been at the World Juniors at the time of this interview – will travel with Muirhead’s rink again for Worlds.

Muirhead was full of praise for their fifth player, saying: “Rachel was fantastic at the Europeans.

“She played the [European playdowns] as Sarah unfortunately had an injury, so we know Rachel really well.

“She’s currently at the World Junior Championships, so it’s good for her to have Scotland on her back again before she comes with us.

“She was a pretty automatic [choice for Worlds], as she seemed to fit in really well with the team and she’s a great player as well, so if we ever needed to use her she’s definitely capable of stepping in.”

Muirhead knows there are tough matches ahead in Swift Current, especially having kept a close eye on the teams who qualified.

“When we were playing the Scottish Championships, the Swiss nationals were on, and you’re always checking the scores,” she said.

“When the [Canadian] Tournament of Hearts was on I think I watched just about every game.

“You always watch the other championships, how they’re going and who you’ll be competing against.

“You get a lot of people who say they don’t really mind who they play, but you do really.

“Secretly you’re watching every game, and you’re looking to see who your competitors are going to be when it comes to the major championships.”

But ultimately, when play gets underway against those competitors, the only thing Team Muirhead can affect is their own performances and how they handle the pressure.

“Every year as a team we’re getting better and better,” Muirhead said.

“All the time, as Scotland, you’re going to have a target on your back and that’s just the nature of the game. But we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves.”

And to win gold?

“It’d be huge – we’ve won World Championship medals before but you always want more, it’s what we work so hard for.

“And [for 2018] we want to make sure the Olympic selectors have no choice but to pick us.”


The World Women’s Curling Championship takes place in Swift Current from March 19 to 27 – event website here.

Stay up to date with Team Muirhead’s progress through the Roaring Game Blog Facebook and Twitter, plus the Royal Caledonian Curling Club website.

World Women’s Curling Championship preview

Team Muirhead  1 - Tom J Brydone
Team Muirhead – L-R: Sarah Reid, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan, Eve Muirhead (photo: Tom J Brydone (facebook.com/brydoneimages))

The Ford World Women’s Curling Championship begins on Saturday in Swift Current, Canada, with Eve Muirhead’s Scottish rink gunning for gold.

What are their chances, and which teams are most likely to rival them for the podium placings?

For answers to these questions, and other details about the forthcoming tournament, read on…


Scotland (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid, Rachel Hannen (alternate)) are looking to improve on their fourth-place finish from last year, and take the gold as they did in Riga, Latvia, in 2013 (with Claire Hamilton at lead).

As an ambitious rink, they are aiming for nothing less, and have a genuine chance of achieving it – not least because they are playing better as a team than this time last season.

Last season they struggled somewhat as they integrated Reid into the team and, having won an Olympic bronze medal from Sochi, they were an even bigger scalp for teams to aim for than before.

Having said that, they did win the Canadian Open, Players’ Championship and overall Rogers Cup on the Grand Slam of Curling Tour, as well as European Championships bronze.

In 2015-16, they’ve made the Stockholm Ladies Cup final, semi-finals at the Women’s Masters Basel and GSOC Canadian Open, and won silver at Europeans.

The progress on the ice is there – their run to the European Championship final was a confident one, and they were unbeaten at last month’s Scottish Championships in Perth to qualify for Worlds – so a podium spot in Swift Current must be their minimum expectation.


Another boost for the Muirhead rink is that the 2015 gold and silver medallists (Team Pätz of Switzerland and Team Jones of Canada) did not qualify for Worlds this year.

Nor did Teams Homan and Tirinzoni, two of the teams on the best form on tour this season.

However, it is still a quality field, not least for the representatives from Canada and Switzerland.

Team Carey of Alberta dominated the Scotties round robin stage before beating defending champion Jones in the 1v2 playoff and then Team McCarville of Northern Ontario in the final.

It might be skip Chelsea Carey’s debut on the Worlds stage, but her rink is an experienced one – and if they can continue their consistently high level from the Scotties they will be hard to beat.

Team Feltscher of Switzerland have plenty of pedigree in this event, winning gold in 2014. They’ve not had an outstanding year on tour – Tirinzoni’s ladies have been the most successful Swiss rink in 2015-16, while Pätz represented Switzerland at Europeans.

But by defeating Tirinzoni and Pätz to reach Swift Current, Feltscher have forced themselves into consideration as real contenders.

And then there’s Team Sidorova of Russia, who’ve been something of a nemesis for Muirhead this season.

It was Sidorova who pipped Muirhead to gold in Esbjerg, and beat them in the quarter-finals of the Bernese Ladies Cup (themselves going out in the semis).

The Russians have also made the final of the ZO International, plus the semi-finals at the Glynhill International.

Should the team perform as they did in Esbjerg, skip Anna Sidorova playing brilliantly throughout the week, they are another team very much in the running for gold.

Teams Nielsen (Denmark) and Kauste (Finland) will look to push on from strong showings at Europeans in November, where they finished fourth and third respectively.

Team Sigfridsson of Sweden, meanwhile, bring plenty of experience – this is their eighth appearance at Worlds, finishing runners-up to Muirhead in 2013 – and they made finals at the Bernese Ladies Cup and Glynhill International to show they’re capable of a strong run.

The USA’s representatives, Team Brown, are also making their eighth appearance – and performed well at the Continental Cup earlier this year – while such is the growing quality of the Pacific Asia Championships that the teams from Japan and South Korea are also more than capable of pulling off some shocks – not least with precious qualification points for the 2018 Olympics at stake.

So while the safest bets to qualify from the round robin look to be Canada, Russia, Scotland and Switzerland, there can be no assurances. The favourites have to play well throughout the week… if they don’t, plans to peak in the playoffs will prove pointless.


This is the second time Swift Current has hosted the World Women’s Championship, having seen Andrea Schöpp and Germany take gold (beating Muirhead’s Scots in the final) in 2010.

The 12 teams at the event will play in 17 round robin sessions from Saturday, March 19 through to Thursday, March 24.

Following tiebreakers (if needed) to determine the top four teams, there will be 1v2 and 3v4 page playoffs, then a semi-final, before the gold and bronze medal games on Sunday, March 27.

Scotland begin their campaign against Sweden on Saturday evening (or Sunday morning, 1am, UK time!), before facing Korea and Germany the following day.

Unfortunately there is a distinct lack of streaming of Scotland’s games, with fans having to wait until the 15th round robin draw on Thursday – a match against Japan – for World Curling TV coverage.

You can of course follow the linescores throughout the week (as well as team details, action photos etc) here, while there will be updates on the Royal Caledonian Curling Club website, as well as the Roaring Game Blog Facebook and Twitter.