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Mili Smith: Second member of Eve Muirhead’s Olympic gold medal team steps away from elite curling

Great Britain's Mili Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Eve Muirhead celebrate gold medal triumph.
Great Britain's Mili Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Eve Muirhead celebrate gold medal triumph.

Perthshire gold medal-winning Olympic curler Mili Smith is stepping away from the sport at elite level.

The 24-year-old, who was the alternate for Eve Muirhead’s team as they finished first in Beijing and in the European Championships before that, will pursue a career as a primary school teacher.

Smith, whose two brothers and father also curled for Scotland and Britain, is the second of the five 2022 champions to take themselves off British Curling’s funded programme.

Vicky Wright announced her retirement to concentrate on a nursing career.

Smith, awarded an MBE recently, will embark on a Post Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of Dundee in August.

Mili Smith
Mili Smith.

”It has always been a dream of mine to get to an Olympic Games and now feels like a good time for me to focus on something different as I have always planned on becoming a primary school teacher after curling,” said the former Perth Academy pupil.

“I have worked incredibly hard, and committed a big part of my life to curling, since I left school in 2016.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to curl at this level and study and I graduated last year with a BSc in psychology from the University of Stirling.

“This past year has been one of the best.

“Looking back over this season I have made memories with the girls and coaches which will last a lifetime.”

Decorated junior

Smith enjoyed a successful junior career before playing her part in the success of the group skipped by Blair Atholl’s Muirhead.

“Winning the Scottish Juniors, the Scottish Champs and playing at the World Juniors and World Championships were great years for me with previous teams,” she added.

“Representing Great Britain competing at the Youth Olympics and University Games were also great foundations and successes to build on over the years.

“Looking back perhaps my few disappointments were not playing at an Olympics and not getting the chance to skip a team.”

Like Wright, Smith won’t be giving up curling completely.

“Over the years my colleagues have become best friends and my coaches have helped me to learn a lot about myself and life both on and off the ice and I am very grateful to those I have worked with on the programme,” she said.

“I hope to play alongside some of them in the Scottish Mixed Doubles and also the Super League in Perth, so I will be keeping my hand in even when I start teaching and it is not the end just a new beginning.”

British Curling praise

British Curling’s Executive Performance Director, Nigel Holl, said: “The success our women’s team achieved this season was hugely impressive as they responded to a huge challenge in becoming the first British Curling team to come through an Olympic Qualifying Event.

“Mili was among those who shone in that environment and the professionalism that took her into the team that won the Olympic title carried into the way she went about her work as their alternate, ensuring that the quartet who competed on the ice had the support they required to be able to perform to their very best.”

EVE MUIRHEAD: Vicky Wright was the best curler at the Olympics – what a great way to retire

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