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17 October 2014

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Olympic Curling Gold 2002

The victorious ladies rink

© SNSpix

It is safe to say that curling has never generated such publicity in the United Kingdom as it did after the quartet led by Rhona Martin won gold in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Martin skipped the rink of Fiona MacDonald, Janice Rankin, Debbie Knox and reserve Margaret Morton, who made a brief appearance in the early stages of the competition, to Britain's first Olympic gold medal since the "Torvill and Dean" triumph during the Sarajevo games of 1984.

The four ladies who made up the team were not without top-level experience and had shown their potential in 2000 when finishing fourth in the World Championships, including a success in the group stage over their eventual semi-final conquerors, Kelley Law's Canadian rink in that competition.

Martin had previously won a silver medal at the 1998 European Championships and was Scottish Ladies Champion in 2000, but her participation in the Salt Lake City was only possible after she underwent knee surgery in 2001 and even then her place was in doubt as she spent three days in hospital with a stomach complaint just a week before the Games began.

The victorious ladies rink

© SNSpix

The path to glory was far from smooth, despite an opening victory over Norway in the match of the nine game round-robin group stages.

That had seemed to set the team up for a successful run and although they lost to Sweden in their second game they still appeared well on course to make progress after a return to form saw them requiring only one win from their final two matches to gain a place in the last four. However, when they slipped to defeats, firstly at the hands of the United States and then against Germany, they appeared to be heading for an early trip home.

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