By Hritika Sharma
BEIJING (Reuters) -Eve Muirhead could not hold back the tears as she stood on top of the podium after leading Britain to victory over Japan in the women’s curling final on Sunday, securing the nation’s only gold medal of the Beijing Games.
Twenty years after Rhona Martin sent down her “Stone of Destiny” at the Salt Lake City Games to win gold, Muirhead emulated her fellow Scot’s success as Britain dominated from the start and wrapped up a 10-3 win with an end to spare.
Muirhead, who won Olympic gold at the fourth time of asking alongside Games debutants Jennifer Dodds, Hailey Duff and Vicky Wright, said it was an “incredible” moment.
“To think it was 20 years ago when Rhona Martin made history in Britain by winning that gold medal…,” she added. “We’ve followed in her footsteps and done it.
“This is a moment I’ve dreamed of as a child… To stand on the podium and get that gold medal around your neck is honestly a moment I’ll never forget.”
Muirhead effectively sealed the win in the seventh end after sending Japan’s sole red rock flying to score four, the shot receiving thunderous applause from the men’s team, who lost to Sweden in the gold medal match on Saturday.
Satsuki Fujisawa’s Japan won their second straight Olympic medal, going one better than their finish in Pyeongchang four years ago when they pipped Britain to bronze.
The result also served as redemption for Muirhead, whose mistake in the Pyeongchang bronze medal match saw Japan finish on the podium instead of Britain.
“I have waited a long time,” said the 31-year-old, who also won bronze in Sochi in 2014.
“Coming in fourth in Pyeongchang was incredibly tough. It took me a long time to get over that and even now I still think of that shot.
“It’s a horrible place to finish, but I came back because I knew I was capable of getting a medal and I did it … It’s all thanks to these girls who have helped me get here.”
Muirhead said she still could not wrap her head around the fact she was an Olympic champion.
“Dreams do come true… It just doesn’t feel real. It’s going to take a long time to sink in, because I’m not sure it has yet.”
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma; Editing by Jacqueline Wong/Himani Sarkar/Peter Rutherford)