Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Winter Olympics heroine Eve Muirhead waded into the row over Scottish
independence on Monday night by admitting it was more special representing
Great Britain than Scotland.
Muirhead, who last week became the youngest skip to win an Olympic medal in
curling, had previously been at pains not to be drawn into the debate over
But speaking after arriving home from Sochi, the 23-year-old bronze medallist
from Perth left little doubt what she thought about the prospect of being
unable to represent Team GB at future Games.
Asked what she made of the debate on Scottish independence, she said: “For our
curling teams, nine times out of 10, we represent Scotland at the European
and World Championships, and that’s a great honour to have your country on
“But when it comes to the Olympic Games and you get a chance to represent Team
GB, it makes it extra special. You’re one big team and we’re all together
and it’s a great, great feeling to know when you step on that ice that you
are part of Team Great Britain and not just part of Team Scotland.”
Muirhead’s male equivalent and fellow Scot David Murdoch, who won silver in
Sochi, said: “Whatever happens will happen. It’s been an incredible
experience being part of Team GB. We’ve had the full support of the entire
United Kingdom and we’re very proud of that.”
Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay, himself a former Olympic curler, admitted
there was “no Plan B” if his native Scotland voted for independence. “If
that happens, we’ll deal with whatever the consequences are.”
The consequences could be preventing Britain bettering its biggest medal haul
at a Winter Olympics since the first Games in 1924.
Curling accounted for half of Team GB’s four medals in Sochi and it could
expect an increase on the £2 million Lottery funding it received in the last
four years provided Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom.
Six sports shared £13.4 million during the Sochi cycle and UK Sport chief
executive Liz Nicholl revealed that was likely to go up in the build-up to
the next Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Britain’s medallists were welcomed back to the UK by around 200 family,
friends and supporters at Heathrow Airport on Monday evening.
Team GB’s delegation was led by skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold, fresh
from carrying the Union Flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony in Sochi.
Yarnold, whose sport involves careering down a bobsleigh track at up to 90mph,
admitted being Britain’s flag-bearer was “the most frightening experience of
the last two weeks”.
She added: “I only heard I was doing it the day before, so I didn’t get any
flag-waving practice. I was crying before I even went out into the stadium.
Compared to my competition, I felt like there was a lot more pressure. It
was just so, so meaningful. It was really special to me.”
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