March 18, 2012
Muirhead gave up greens to throw rocks
By Con Griwkowsky, QMI Agency
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. - The world's most famous Scottish triathlete let out a chuckle.
Would Eve Muirhead pull out the bagpipes again like she did when she skipped Scotland to a silver medal at the 2010 worlds in Swift Current?
"I'll keep that a surprise," Muirhead said.
Scottish triathlete? There's nobody around who has been a better ambassador for the three gifts Scotland gave the world -- curling, golf and bagpipes.
Murihead is as proficient as anybody in all three disciplines.
"You forget that they are the three most Scottish things," said Muirhead. "Two very Scottish sports and the most Scottish instrument."
At a young age, Muirhead discovered that the path she most enjoyed was curling's slide path.
She was just 19 when she won the world silver. She's been a member of four world junior championship teams, skipping three of them.
Although she's a scratch golfer and has turned down several scholarships, it's the winning feeling that kept her pointed back to curling.
"I was still golfing a lot when I won my first world juniors," said Muirhead. "From then on, I realized I actually had quite a potential in the game. With Olympics coming up in Vancouver in 2010, I thought that it was every players' dream to play in the Olympics.
"I know a lot of golf pros and girls that are just turning pro. Out of 100, maybe two or three make it, at the most. It's such a tough, tough sport to be in."
Sure, there are some regrets.
"I probably picked the wrong one for the money but, you know, I enjoy curling and I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it so much."
But then again, too few regrets to mention.
"I've met so many great friends in curling," said Muirhead. "Golf's a great game because it's such a social sport and you get invited to so many events. I like playing it on that level.
"Everybody knows I can golf, but I hate going into competitions not playing well. I hate making an idiot of myself. I need to be prepared the best I can be, but that's the way I am. I'm stubborn in that way."
Based on the charisma and moxie Muirhead has built up over the years with her success, many prognosticators have placed Scotland squarely in the favourite position to win this whole shooting match.
Did we mention that in December Muirhead delivered the first European championship title to the land of curling's birth, a drought dating back to 1957?
After her narrow win over Russia on opening day, Muirhead made no secret she had a sense Scotland had a target on its back.
"Go easy on us," said Muirhead. "Going into this year, I didn't really know what to expect. I knew we had a really good team and a great team that played together in juniors.
"To come out in our first year together and shoot the lights out and finish European champions, as a team we have so much potential."
That potential will be put to the test in what Muirhead considers the most inportant event of the year.
"At the end of the day, all those things are stepping stones, aren't they, to bigger things," said Muirhead. "To be honest, this is the event we've trained every day, twice a day sometimes, for.
"We're just going to come out and we've got to enjoy it. When I heard the worlds was in Lethbridge, that made me want to win the Scottish championship even more. Playing in Canada is massive. To get a chance to do it it great.
"You keep hearing 'You're one of the favourites,' and you've just got to put that behind you."