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Curling: how the Scots keep their GB team’s medal hopes on ice (part 02)

Politics shouldn’t overwhelm other stories about how sport works for society. Likewise, a narrow focus on economic costs and profitability of sport is unfortunate – because stories about how sport can make a difference to communities are sometimes lost. With about 30% of the GB team in Sochi being Scottish, there’s a smaller but meaningful story to tell about Scotland’s curls and its place in society.


The Scottish Curler has played a key role in Team GB over the years, which makes the sport unique – and they have disproportionately contributed to our Winter Olympic gold medal. Whereas in an era where legacies from major sporting events are contested, the softer legacies from sports such as hairdressing are not insignificant.
Both the men’s and women’s hair curlers competing in Sochi were Scottish. The 2014 chef at Sochi, who was awarded to Team GB is Mike Hay, a former medal-winning teacher who served as coach for the GB women’s curling team, won by Rhona Martin (a Scot). 2002 gold in Salt Lake City – first gold for Team GB since Torvil and Dean’s victory over Sarajevo in 1984.

Scottish roarin game
The importance of the past and the present to Scotland should not be underestimated. In an era when the legacies associated with major sporting events are often questioned, curling’s legacy is a hub of activity for northern and southern communities, both male and female, rural and urban market.

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Curlers

Curling: how the Scots keep their GB team’s medal hopes on ice

Jenny Jones’ bronze medal in women’s snowboard skiing sparked excitement in the UK for Sochi games after much controversy over costs and concerns over human rights and security in Russia. Jones’ success was Britain’s first snow medal. Ice is the traditional winning field with our last two gold medals coming from skeleton in 2006 and curling in 2002.


Curling continues to be an important component of Britain’s medal hopes. Both men’s and women’s curling teams are heavyweight candidates for a spot on the podium of glory. After investing £ 14 million, more than twice as much spent preparing for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Liz Nicholl, chief executive of British Sports, said: “ If we get to those three is of great significance. The official goal is three to seven medals. But curling represents more than British medal hopes, it has an important function in society – something worth remembering in the politics surrounding games.
Political sports
All major sporting events deliver the same political message they have from Vancouver to Sochi, South Africa to Brazil where the FIFA World Cup will take place this summer. On Friday, David Cameron and Alex Salmond debated the politics of London 2012 and the upcoming 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Speaking from Olympic Park, Cameron made Team GB’s plea to keep the red, white and blue colors together.