David Murdoch said the curling gods have finally been with him at these Olympics – but when he whispered a silent prayer before yesterday’s Olympic final he found they had suddenly disappeared.
The British skip and his youthful rink of Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow and alternate Tom Brewster were totally outclassed by their Canadian rivals in Sochi.
Brad Jacobs’ rink are dubbed the Buff Boys for their pumped up, aggressive style of play and yesterday they simply biffed up Murdoch’s team, winning 9-3 with two ends to spare.
Murdoch made no attempt to hide his disappointment, but would have almost certainly have taken a silver a few weeks ago, after his two previous appearances at these Games ended in such disappointment that he was questioning his future in the sport.
But last night it all felt too bittersweet, a feeling that should quickly fade and will hopefully have disappeared by this evening’s medal ceremony.
“It feels like a kick in the teeth right now, but once we recovered I will look at what we’ve achieved and I’ll certainly be very proud,” said Murdoch.
“I’ve chased this medal for such a long time, but it’s always a strange feeling when you lose a final. It takes some time to get over the disappointment of not getting the gold.
“However, if you look at the games we’ve won to make this final and how we’ve got the nation behind us, it’s just really special. We’ve dedicated a lot of hard years work into this and made a lot of sacrifices and a silver medal is still super cool.”
It was not the most one-sided Olympic curling final – the British rink beat France 46-6 to win back in 1924 – but Jacobs totally dominated and never gave Murdoch a half sniff of a chance.
And he later revealed comments by British coach Soren Gran, in which he questioned the aggressive tactics of the Canadian team, had only fired him up to make a flying start.
“I don’t think that was the right thing to say before a big final game like that,” said Jacobs. “It gave us extra motivation.
“One of the guys read the comments out to me and what you saw out there was a response perhaps. It was a pretty strange thing to do in my opinion.”
Gran, who has been credited with giving an extra edge to the Scottish curling programme since his appointment as head coach in 2011, insisted silver remained a great result and Murdoch refused to blame other factors for the defeat.
“Brad’s team bring a lot of adrenaline and passion to the game and that obviously works for them,” he said. “It doesn’t work for the majority, most people like to stay cool out there but they prefer to be pumped up.”
Murdoch’s rink were cheered by a large contingent of British athletes, including all the members of the Eve Muirhead’s bronze-medal winning team and skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold.
Rhona Howie, the last British skip to win gold, exactly 12 years ago yesterday, was there too, but there was no chance to deliver a stony of destiny. Indeed, Murdoch conceded the match with two ends remaining.
Murdoch admitted a slow start cost his team. He also appeared to struggle with the ice conditions, which were quicker and swung more than previous matches.
“The disappointing thing is the manner of the defeat,” added Murdoch. “You don’t mind so much to lose when you perform well but we allowed them to dominate. We had to force some pressure early and we let them gain confidence. We didn’t have a very good third end and that was the game changer. We were in a lot of trouble early on and it was always going to be a Herculean task to get back into it.”
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