Eve Muirhead has admitted the news of her MBE for services to curling helped ease the bitter memories of narrowly missing out on a second Olympic medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018.
The 30-year-old, a former junior and senior world champion who skipped her team to Olympic bronze in Sochi in 2014, agonisingly missed out on repeating the feat four years later when she sent down an errant final stone against Japan.
But having worked hard to shrug off that disappointment, and also the effects of a hip operation which briefly threatened her future in the sport, Muirhead says the recognition will spur her on towards what she is convinced will be another shot at Olympic glory.
Muirhead told the PA news agency: “Being a skip comes with a lot of pressure and it’s been tough since I missed that shot for a medal in Pyeongchang, so to get something like this at this point in my career feels like a nice cherry on the top.
“I’ve been curling for the majority of my life and I’ve put a lot of time and effort into getting where I am today in the sport, so although I’m very modest about these things it is definitely very nice to be recognised.
“If I go to Beijing (in 2022) it will be my fourth Olympics and I do feel like there is a moment that is waiting to come. I’ve had a great few years with Team Muirhead winning world and European titles, and I believe that we’ve continued to get better.”
Muirhead underwent hip surgery post-Pyeongchang and says the current lockdown situation has served her well in respect of her rehabilitation process, giving her the opportunity to focus on full-time training with her team at the National Curling Academy in Stirling.
“For me the lockdown has been great in terms of allowing me to just focus on my rehabilitation and give my health a little bit of a rest,” added Muirhead.
“I’ve reached the stage where I’m not worried one bit that I’ll be held back by my injury. My surgery was a couple of years ago and my body’s in a really good place right now. I know what I can and can’t do, and that is helping me to stay pain-free.”
While surgery has given Muirhead’s career a new lease of life, she acknowledged her mind is beginning to stray towards the end of a career that has seen her become the youngest skip to win both the women’s world title, in 2013, and her Olympic bronze medal in Sochi.
“Curling has been a huge part of my life and when I do finish curling I want to give back to the sport,” Muirhead added. “I think I would find it very hard not to be involved in the sport when I finish competing.
“I just feel like I want to give back to a sport that has given me so much throughout my career, including now the MBE. It shows I have been appreciated and I want to help as many people as possible achieve their own dreams in the sport.”