Curling: Muirhead clan aiming for World Championships success

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland
Muirhead clan aiming for global success

The saying ''Keeping it in the family'' could have been made for the Muirheads. Curling is their passion and their forte.

And this season they swept the board at the Scottish Curling Championships. Eve led her rink to the women's title, younger brother Glen was part of the victorious Brewster rink taking the men's title, and dad Gordon lifted the men's senior title.

It means all three will represent Scotland at their respective World Championships - with Eve's team up first when they head to Canada for the worlds starting on the 19th of March. They go in great form and feeling confident.

''We're really looking forward to the Worlds," Eve told BBC Scotland.

"When you get the chance to play at the World Championships in Canada - the atmosphere, everything is just fantastic. I know Swift Current (the host city for this year's competition) where I've been before, I got silver the last time so I definitely want to make that one better and get that gold.''

Eve's success is well documented - in 2014 she led her team to an Olympic bronze medal at the Sochi Games. The aforementioned silver at the World Championships in 2010 was bettered by a gold in Riga three year later. There's no doubt the 25-year-old's achievements have come as a result of hard work, but there's one person who she credits for putting her on the road to success - dad Gordon.

''What was really important was that we were never pushed in to it. It was our choice to go and I think that's why we enjoy it more because we turned up and we actually wanted to play and we weren't forced to play.''

Eve and her siblings Glen and Thomas started curling from an early age at Pitlochry Ice Rink.

''I remember me and my brothers just threw stone after stone. We were never off the ice and dad had to drag us away at 10 o'clock at night because we had school the next day. So from a young age that's what we knew what we wanted to do.''

Gordon Muirhead gladly accepts the role he played in introducing his family to the sport.

Great Britain curling team
Eve Muirhead (left) was part of the team that claimed Olympic bronze at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi

''When they were little kids I was on the tour and on the circuit in Scotland and they got dragged along, so they were exposed to curling at an early age, and then by the time they were six or seven you could see they were taking an interest. As soon as they were big enough to get the stone up the ice they were on the ice at our local club.''

The eldest Muirhead son, Glen, remembers his introduction to curling with a smile.

''We were born and brought up on it. You're watching your dad succeed and then I started watching my sister succeed and I was winning junior titles, so your goal was just to move that one step higher as you progress in the sport.''

Glen will compete at the men's World Championships in Switzerland next month, and would surely love to emulate dad's success on the world stage. Gordon was alternate for the gold medal-winning Scottish team at the 1999 Championships in New Brunswick, and won silver medals at the World Championships in 1992, 1993 and 1995.

Both Eve and Glen refer to their dad as ''an inspiration'', and admit his success helps drive them on in their own careers.

''I think it spurs you on as an individual because you want to go and maybe get one better - so you've got those little bragging rights," says Eve. "You want to get more medals and it makes it lots of fun.''

Glen is also full of compliments for the man who introduced him to the sport - but surprisingly he says he does not feel extra pressure being part of the one of the countries most famous curling clans.

''Maybe it's underlying but I don't think it actually comes to the surface, it's not a pressure that's going to affect me apart from maybe a few sly remarks around the dinner table. But on the whole we're all chuffed to bits for each other and we'll just enjoy it and do the best we can.''

One thing you will not see the Muirheads doing is competing on the same team. Gordon says they tried it once but it is not to be repeated because ''it soon became evident that we were all pretty strong minded.''

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