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Britain’s first Winter gold since Torvill and Dean Salt Lake 2002 Curling Women

 

It is perhaps apt that one of the most heart-stopping moments in curling’s short Olympic history should see a Scot take centre stage.

Rhona Martin, a housewife from Glasgow, showed nerves as tough as the stone she cast down in the deciding end of the final in Salt Lake City to capture Britain’s first gold medal at a Winter Games since Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean wowed the world with Bolero 16 years earlier.

A sport only fully introduced to the Games at Nagano in 1998, curling, whose origins are in Scotland, has fast become one of the most popular events on the Winter Olympic schedule.

And with the drama witnessed at the Ogden Ice Sheet in 2002 it is not difficult to see why.

After Martin’s team narrowly qualified to represent Great Britain at the Games, they made a terrific start winning five of their opening seven round-robin matches.

However a defeat to the USA shook them and they ended the qualifying rounds needing the Swiss to beat Germany in the final match to keep their faint hopes alive.

The Swiss duly obliged and Britain then had to come through two playoff matches with Sweden and Germany after finishing tied in fourth place.

Again, the British team of Martin, Debbie Knox, Fiona MacDonald, Janice Rankin and Margaret Morton prevailed and faced the table-topping Canadians in the semi-final.

Canada had hammered Britain 9-4 in the preliminary stages and were the hot favourites but the Scottish women were never headed and led 3-1 and 5-3 before coming through 6-5 and booking a place in the final against Switzerland.

The final was unbearably tense at 3-3 with Martin with the hammer, or last stone. A Swiss stone was nicely placed near the centre circle and the Scot needed to gently cannon off it to ensure gold.

Martin’s steely glare showed her determination and the hall erupted in cheers as she nursed the winning stone home for a most unexpected 4-3 triumph.

 
   

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