Britain's women win curling bronze to equal Team GB record

Britain's women won curling bronze to ensure Team GB will equal their best medal haul at a Winter Olympics.

Eve Muirhead secured a 6-5 victory over Switzerland with the last stone of the bronze medal play-off in Sochi.

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For British winter sport we are witnessing history in the making

Liz Nicholl UK Sport chief executive

"We knew we had to step it up and we did. The girls were fantastic," Muirhead told BBC Sport.

GB's men face Canada for gold at 13:30 GMT on Friday and their guaranteed medal makes GB's haul of four their best at a Winter Games since 1924.

Lizzy Yarnold's gold in the skeleton and the bronze for Jenny Jones in the snowboard slopestyle are the other British medallists at Sochi 2014.

Britain last won four medals in Chamonix, France, at the inaugural Winter Olympics 90 years ago.

The medal was also Britain's first women's Olympic curling medal since Rhona Martin's gold in 2002.

Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, said: "For them it is due reward for the years of training and preparation they have put in, but for British winter sport we are witnessing history in the making.

"There's been a record investment of National Lottery and Government funding into British winter sports, and now we have a historic medal haul."

Muirhead was unaware of the significance of the medal until after the play-off.

"I'm glad no-one told me that before," she said.

"What a fantastic Olympics for Great Britain. To hear that stone made it one of the most successful for Team GB will make that stone stay with me for a lot longer."

Match analysis

David Murdoch, GB men's skip:

"It is an incredible performance from the girls and I am just so delighted for them. It's hard work and dedication. We have all been part of the same programme, we've been doing a lot of things right, and it's credit to them for what they have done over the last four years.

"It's a long couple of weeks here, it's a marathon, and they deserve everything they got there. It's always tough to come out after a semi-final loss and you certainly don't want to lose and go home in fourth place - I know what that feels like."

Though the scoreline in Thursday's bronze play-off remained tight throughout, Muirhead - leading a team that included fellow Scots Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton - displayed an assurance and touch which at times deserted her in the semi-final defeat by Canada.

After a tentative start, Adams' mistake gave Switzerland a 2-0 lead but Britain had levelled by the halfway point.

Swiss skip Mirjam Ott inadvertently scored one instead of blanking the sixth end, handing Britain the hammer and control of the game.

A succession of excellent Muirhead shots kept up the pressure in the ninth end, forcing the Swiss to take just one with the hammer, which tied the contest at 5-5.

The 23-year-old Scot then delivered two nerveless final stones to add Olympic bronze to her 2013 world title, as her team-mates broke into tears.

"I knew she was going to make it," said GB's Sloan of Muirhead's shot to win the medal.

"That's all she said: 'Give me a draw for the win.' It was a great team effort. The girls swept it really well and judged it to perfection, and that shows how good a team effort it's been."

Adams said: "We knew if we were up with the hammer coming home, it would be good. If you leave Eve a draw to the four-foot, she's normally pretty happy. We had it all under control."

Hamilton admitted it had been difficult to bounce back from the semi-final defeat by Canada.

She said: "The last couple of days have been a complete mix of emotions but we knew that the best thing was to put the other game behind us and come in fighting because we desperately wanted the medal."

Canada, led by Jennifer Jones, beat defending champions Sweden 6-3 in the final to secure the gold medal.

Sir David Attenborough's curling commentary