By Mike Rowbottom

December 17 - Nineteen-year-old Eve Muirhead (pictured) – described by the British Olympic Association's (BOA) chief executive Andy Hunt as "probably the world’s best young player" - has been confirmed as skip for the British curling team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February.

Muirhead, whose father Gordon won a curling silver at the 1992 Winter Games when the event was a demonstration sport, was allowed to stay up and watch her predecessor Rhona Martin on television as she won curling gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"I remember sitting with my parents at home and watching the final on TV," said Muirhead, who has won three world junior titles in succession, the last two as skip.

"Now I've got the opportunity to go out to the Games and have a shot at gold myself.

"Rhona has been a huge inspiration to our sport, and to me. 

"I was able to work a lot with her when she was head coach at the last world juniors.

"And she’s always there to talk to."

Hunt described the "exciting and developing" women’s team as being a "fantastic blend of experience and probably the world's best young player as skip in Eve Muirhead."

Muirhead's other talents include golf – she plays of a handicap of two – and bagpipe-playing, in which she has competed at World Championships.

The Blair Atholl youngster’s team-mates will include 44-year-old mother-of-two Jackie Lockhart, one of the team skipped by Kirsty Hay which missed a medal by a fraction at the 1998 Winter Games, and who subsequently skipped Great Britain to the world title in 2002.

Kelly Wood is another former Olympian named, along with Lorna Vevers and fifth player Karen Addison, Kirsty’s Hay's sister.

The Team GB men, meanwhile, will seek their first Olympic medal since the event became part of the Games proper as world champions.

Skipped by Dave Murdoch (pictured), who was in the team which finished sixth at the 2006 Games in Turin, Britain have the psychological advantage of having beaten the hosts on home territory at the last World Championships.

Murdoch will be joined by Ewan Macdonald, who competed at the 2002 and 2006 Games, Pete Smith, the three-times world champion, and Euan Byers, along with fifth man Graeme Connal.

"In recent Olympics, curling has provided some special moments for Team GB," Hunt said.

"It's a sport with centuries of tradition for us and the curlers selected today will form an integral part of our team in Vancouver.

"Competing in Canada will provide an extra spur - it’s only when you go there that you realise the depth of affection that Canadians have for curling.

"They will be formidable opponents, but they won't be alone – the recent European Championships showed that standards across the sport are extremely high."

Murdoch commented: "I can't wait for the Olympics to start.

"It's the pinnacle of our sport, the competition that everyone wants to be involved in.

"The Games in Turin ended in such a frustrating way, when we missed out on a medal by the narrowest of margins, and I'm very keen to have another opportunity to compete for an Olympic medal.

"We go as world champions, but we know that the competition will be very tough, particularly from the host nation."

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