sport

Muirhead relishing Sweden test

Skip Eve Muirhead insists it is a "good thing" that Team GB's women's curling team will begin their Sochi 2014 campaign against Sweden.

In March last year, Muirhead's rink, which includes Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray, Claire Hamilton and Anna Sloan - while playing for Scotland - were crowned world champions after beating the Scandinavians 6-5 in Riga.

As a counter-balance to that confidence booster, under the British banner, the 23-year-old's team are preparing to open up against a side who beat them in the final of the European championships last November and a country who have won gold in the last two Winter Olympics.

At the press conference on Thursday to preview the start of the women's event at the Cube Curling Centre next Monday, Muirhead, who as a 19-year-old skipped Britain to seventh place in Vancouver four years ago, relished the prospect of what she believes will inevitably be a "tough opening match".

"They are one of the top teams here," she said.

"But for us, I think it is a good thing that we are starting the Games against one of the top-seeded teams.

"The Swedish team are a really good team, they train really hard and I can't say they have a lot of weaknesses.

"A lot of these top teams are really solid, so we have to bring our 'A' game when we play them and see what happens.

"It is important for us to get off to a strong start, so that will be good for us to know that we have to go out there and put in one of our best performances early on in the week.

"I know it is going to be a tight game and go to the last end, to the last shot, but we are ready for that."

Asked about exchanging the Saltire for the Union flag during Sochi 2014, Muirhead said: "We are used to representing Scotland at European and World championships but for us to get the chance to represent Great Britain is extra special.

"You are competing for all those millions of people at home.

"When you are on the ice you forget about that, but it is extra special with Great Britain on your back."

Muirhead is the only one of her team who has previous Olympic experience and Hamilton, the 25-year-old from Lockerbie, is looking forward to being able to put the Games on her CV.

"It means a lot to me," she said.

"We have put so much work in over the years to be here and I'm really proud to be part of Team GB.

"I just can't wait to get started now."