Murdoch medal fulfils Olympic dream

Congleton Guardian: Great Britain's men's curling team take on Canada in Friday's final Great Britain's men's curling team take on Canada in Friday's final

Great Britain skip David Murdoch's exhilaration at having finally "realised a dream" by guaranteeing an Olympic medal kept him awake until 5am - but he knows it is vital he and his team get their minds focused on the job ahead as they prepare for Friday's men's curling final against Canada.

GB's men's rink ensured they will claim either silver or gold from the Sochi 2014 Games with a 6-5 semi-final triumph over world champions Sweden at the Ice Cube Curling Center on Wednesday, sealed by Murdoch's nerveless final stone.

With him having fallen just short of the medals when skipping GB at the previous two Olympics and come through a career-threatening injury, it is understandable that the 35-year-old's emotions left him struggling to get to sleep that night.

But Murdoch is not about to let elation over what has been achieved so far get in the way of "meticulous" preparation for the opportunity that lies in wait on Friday.

Asked about what happened following Wednesday's victory, Lockerbie-born Murdoch told Press Association Sport on Thursday: "It was just jubilant scenes really, with the fact that you have realised a dream - you've got an Olympic medal, and that's something I've been chasing for over 12 years now.

"There have been a lot of kicks in the teeth prior to this, and now it's finally happened, you're just so excited.

"We had a cool-down, a chat about the game and how our performance went, and then we had some food, went back, spoke to a few people on the phone, and there was just no way I was going to sleep! I was just too excited.

"I think it was 5am when I actually managed to shut my eyes - I could do with a nap today!

"You just want to enjoy the moment. We were so excited last night and are still excited today.

"But we have to think about our planning for the final. We need to make sure we are really meticulous with everything we do, and get everything right.

"There are a lot of things you need to get right and one small mistake out there can cost you the game.

"It is a game of millimetres and tough strategy, and you have to be really focused on everything you do."

Final stones from Murdoch have wrapped up GB's last two wins, including a 6-5 tie-breaker win against Norway, but he was not able to pull his concluding delivery off successfully in the round-robin 7-5 defeat to Canada.

Certainly he has trust in his technique, and Murdoch is relishing the prospect of stepping up once again on Friday to make another decisive throw - something skip Rhona Martin so famously did at Salt Lake City 2002, when her 'Stone of Destiny' clinched gold for GB's women.

Regarding Friday's clash with Canada, the nation who won the Vancouver 2010 men's competition, Murdoch said: "All we can ask for is just to have a shot to win.

"The guys have given me that opportunity in the last two games and we have obviously made them. It's all you can ask for.

"You just need to pressurise the other team as much as you can, try to force mistakes and get your nose in front, and then hope for the last shot to win.

"We have different game plans for different games and we actually called a pretty offensive game against Canada last time and did a lot of things right.

"We were probably about a millimetre or two away with my last stone from beating them in that round-robin game, so hopefully I will have that chance again. It would be nice to try to take it."

GB's Michael Goodfellow - who could throw the first stone in the final, which he admits would be "an absolute honour" - has paid tribute to Murdoch, the only member of the team to have previously featured at an Olympics.

"It is a dream to play in an Olympic final and to throw the first shot would be great," said the 25-year-old from Stirling.

"David's experience is invaluable. He has let us know what to expect in the Olympic Games.

"He's great with his shot-making ability and his calmness is great.

"He will admit himself that he's a lot calmer going into this Olympics, but he gives his all and we always follow him."

Team-mate Greg Drummond insists there is no pressure on GB going into Friday's contest, from which Murdoch's rink will pick up the first Games medal in the event for British men since 1924.

"Everyone dreams of winning a gold medal," said the 25-year-old. "But there is no pressure on us now. We can go out and enjoy the gold medal game and try to put in our best performance.

"We had a good game against Canada in the round-robin and lost by a millimetre. If we could put in another performance like that again, hopefully, we will get a couple of breaks and may win.

"It is pretty special to know you're going to win a medal.

"That's always the good thing about winning a semi-final, because the bronze medal game is not a nice one to play in."

Drummond is hoping it is the Canadians who will feel the pressure and that Britain can exploit any mistakes.

"Canada are going to be tough. We had a good game against them in the round-robin but if we can force pressure on them we're going to get a couple of opportunities and that's what we're going to look for.

"They're a young team, they work hard at their game and they get pumped up but so do we."

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