Undoubtedly one of the biggest names in British Curling for the past decade but it was unsurprising considering the sport runs through Eve Muirhead’s blood, writes Katie Thurston.
The shining star of the Muirhead curling dynasty clinched her eighth Scottish Championships win in February – her first since 2017.
Growing up Muirhead’s father Gordon – a World and European champion himself – played a vital role in her development in the sport.
“I definitely think coming from a curling family helps,” Muirhead said. “Sometimes there's a little bit too much curling chat around the kitchen table and we try and change that subject.
“My dad was a high-class curler and I did learn from him. That’s where I began my curling career.
“I remember as a young kid begging dad to put on his videos. Old DVDs of him competing or other people competing because every game of curling I watch, I learn.”
But the road to success is never one without hurdles.
Muirhead’s dedication to the rink is insurmountable but playing through the pain became too much for the Olympic bronze medallist, who was forced to undergo hip surgery in 2018.
However, Muirhead believes it’s made her better than ever.
“Of course, having the hip surgery did knock me back a step but I do believe that maybe that setback has made me a little bit stronger,” Muirhead explained.
“It’s hard work with all the rehab and all of the blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes that nobody sees.
“I do believe that I am now probably playing some of the best curling that I ever have in my career.”
The World and European champion proved that the decade of hype surrounding her name was warranted, as she claimed the national title again in 2020.
Muirhead – who at 23 became the youngest ever skip, male or female, to win an Olympic medal at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi – urges young curlers to watch as much of the sport as possible if they want to make the big time.
“I think if you get the chance, go along and watch curling live and watch it on TV,” Muirhead commented.
“That’s really how I learnt; I do think that’s where a lot of the younger curlers can learn.
“Take small steps. Don’t just expect to be really good your first time. It’s going to take time.”
With the prospect of Beijing 2022 firmly in sight, the progression of curling and its presence in the media is fundamental.
Muirhead knows how important it is to embrace new innovations, particularly with the introduction of mixed doubles at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
“I do think with it being an Olympic discipline it’s good for the sport of curling,” Muirhead added. “It would be great to get Scotland out there in front of the media, show them on TV.”