The farming duo sowing the seeds for Olympic success

Looking back to before PyeongChang 2018, this Olympic Channel Day Jobs episode provides an insight into how Scottish brothers Thomas and Glen Muirhead balanced the demands of managing a working sheep farm with an ultimately successful bid to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games.

• Thomas Muirhead and his brother Glen, part of a curling dynasty, run a sheep farm day to day
• In this episode of the Olympic Channel series Day Jobs, the siblings explain how they manage their demanding timetable
• Watch the episode and explore our free-to-use Career+ resources

Thomas Muirhead grew up watching his older sister Eve perform at the highest levels of curling, and knew from an early age that he wanted to follow in her footsteps and compete on the Olympic stage.

In 2018 that ambition was realised when Thomas joined not only his sister but also his older brother Glen at PyeongChang 2018, with all three siblings representing Team GB together in the Republic of Korea. 

Reaching that pinnacle was, of course, not easy – and not least because both Thomas and Glen balanced their training with maintaining the family’s full-time working farm. Needing to fund their Olympic ambitions, abandoning the farm wasn’t an option, and this Day Jobs episode explores how they successfully managed their working lives with training to compete at the top level of their sport.

“It’s a way of life. We have to farm to make a living,’ explains Thomas. “At the moment, the curling’s put to one side. We’re still training but we have to fully concentrate on what we need to do here on the farm.”

“It can be exhausting,” he adds but says there are benefits to the lifestyle as well. “Obviously we juggle [the farm] with being full-time athletes but the two actually knit together very well because we can basically take as much time off as we need.

“You just have to embrace it and look at the positives. We can go home at night and take our minds completely off curling. I think that’s healthy, and it’s helped us get to where we are.”

Are you an elite athlete interested in pursuing employment while continuing to compete at the highest level? Go to Career+ to access free-to-use, online resources on education, employment, life skills and more advice on balancing competition and career. For more inspirational examples of athletes balancing work and sport, check out the other episodes in the Olympic Channel series Day Jobs.