It’s great to be back at the major championships which have given me the greatest success in my career.
This will be my 13th Europeans and in nine of those my teams have succeeded in bringing home a medal.
The fact that the event was wiped out last year because of Covid-19 just builds the excitement even more for all of us competing in Norway.
The Lillehammer venue is awesome.
European Championships start here in Lillehammer Olympic Park on Saturday.
Team Scotland ready to get started @Team_Muirhead @TeamMouat @scottishcurling @BritishCurling @worldcurling #ECC2021 pic.twitter.com/L49NsF3rbN
— David Murdoch OLY (@DMurdoch17) November 18, 2021
It hosted the ice hockey when the Winter Olympics were here in 1994.
When it’s full, the arena holds around 11,000, which is more than McDiarmid Park!
It won’t be full for us but it’s just great to be curling in front of a big crowd after the Covid bubble last major, the World Championships in Canada.
I’ve written about it plenty of times before but one of the reasons the Europeans have such a unique feel about them is the fact the men and women compete at the same time.
My brothers aren’t in the men’s team anymore but having two Scottish rinks definitely helps build some momentum if they’re both doing well.
Speaking about the guys first, there is certainly no reason why they shouldn’t be challenging for gold.
If Team Mouat aren’t favourites out on their own, they’re joint favourites with Sweden.
They’ve been together for years and for us, of course, it’s a bit different.
We’ve only played one tournament as an official team so far.
That has to be factored in when we’re setting our goals and expectations.
There’s a bit of the unknown about it.
What I will say is we have gelled really well, and quickly, and we know that we have a lot of talent in the group.
PREVIEW | Lillehammer, Norway finally hosts the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships
— World Curling (@worldcurling) November 15, 2021
We’ll be expecting Sweden and Switzerland to be the teams to beat as usual but no doubt there will be some surprises.
We’ve got a tough opener against Russia on Saturday.
With the Olympic qualifier just around the corner, for the first time at a Europeans for me, winning isn’t the most important thing.
There’s a bigger picture.
We have to treat this as a build-up event, learn from any losses and improve.
Qualifying Scotland for the World Championships is also a priority.
That means top seven.
The rebranding of golf’s European Tour seems to have been well received.
Looking at the prize money, you can see why the players are happy!
I do think that there are long-term dangers, though.
You don’t see the impact of serious rebranding and a change of emphasis like this until years down the track.
The European Tour had such a strong identity and there is a threat of that getting watered down.
The most important thing will be ensuring golfers from this continent continue to get the same chances to breakthrough.
Strong foundations need to be maintained.
Congratulations to Stephen Gallacher on clocking up 600 European Tour appearances.
That is very impressive……a lot of balls hit and miles walked!
Along with Paul Lawrie and Catriona Matthew, he’s another one who puts a lot into the grassroots of Scottish golf and genuinely seems to get so much out of that while taking a pride in his own game.