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EVE MUIRHEAD: World v Olympics debate, Barcelona women’s football game-changer and another Muirhead family curling triumph

Switzerland's curlers make it three in a row and the Barcelona women's footballers make history.
Switzerland's curlers make it three in a row and the Barcelona women's footballers make history.

It’s been a year for some historic achievements in curling and Switzerland’s women have produced one of the biggest of them at the World Championships.

They’ve become the first team to win three golds in a row.

Canada have done it four times as a nation but not with the same rink.

Alina Paetz actually has five golds now over the course of her career.

There’s no doubt they’ll go down as one of the great teams of all time and deservedly so.

To go through the round-robin and then the play-offs without dropping a game is so hard at the best of times at that level.

But to do it after missing out on an Olympic medal in Beijing makes it even more incredible.

I can remember all too clearly how devastated I was to finish fourth at PyeongChang – I didn’t want to face the world for a while.

So to recover physically – and, more importantly, mentally – from their huge disappointment is so impressive.

I suppose it also goes to show the different types of pressure you get at annual curling events, even ones as big as a World Championships, to an Olympics.

Switzerland have been so successful at Worlds but lost the bronze game in Vancouver 2010, lost it again in Sochi, didn’t qualify in PyeongChang and then lost the bronze game in Beijing.

They have consistently produced some of the best teams in the world but if you don’t win both, or at least one of, those last two crucial games at an Olympics you don’t get the medals we all strive for.

My Worlds v Olympics attitude changed as soon as I competed at a Winter Games.

I’ve done a 180.

Growing up as a kid I always used to think that a World Championships tops anything else in your own sport.

But when you go to an Olympics, experience the pressure and taste disappointment and success, you know that medals won there are on a totally different level.

It’s the pinnacle of our sport and, apart from the likes of tennis, golf and a few others, it’s the pinnacle of every sport.

It defines careers.

I’m sure Alina would swap at least one of those golds for an Olympic medal.


You always have to be wary of getting too carried away with a headline-grabbing attendance when you’re looking at the growth of a sport.

But it really does look as if women’s football – in Spain at least – has taken a very significant step forward with over 90,000 people watching the Barcelona v Real Madrid Champions League game this week.

Getting the ticketing price right and marketing the occasion well are both important but I’m a big believer that if you’re hoping to sustain things, the product has to be there.

Barcelona seem to be ticking all the boxes, with genuine world stars emerging who will keep spectators coming back for more.

You can manufacture hype to an extent but, as all the great female athletes have shown, they’re the ones who ensure it’s built to last.


The Muirheads have won themselves another curling title!

Congratulations to dad, Glen, Thomas and Stuart Stark on becoming the Perth Super League champions.

There’s a really good standard of curling in Perth, with a lot of familiar names still going strong.

And I’m claiming some of the glory because I played one game for them!

EVE MUIRHEAD: There is no formula for retirement as Wimbledon champion Ash Barty and curling legend Jennifer Jones have shown

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