Bruce Mouat’s men’s curling team continued their march into the Winter Olympic semi-finals and vowed to be the boys to end two weeks of hurt and save the Games for Great Britain.
A comfortable 8-6 win over the Russian Olympic Committee ensured Mouat’s men will head into Thursday’s final round-robin match against Canada knowing another win will put them at the top of the standings.
And, with a semi-final on Thursday morning already guaranteed, the buoyant quartet are willing to rise to the challenge of claiming the first medal of an increasingly disappointing experience for the nation in Beijing.
Bobby Lammie, who has played as second on Mouat’s team since the pair were still juniors in 2015, said: “It’s quite an honour hearing people say that (we can save the Games).
“We see it as an opportunity and not as a burden. We are looking forward to that challenge and, if we can take advantage of it, I think it’s going to go down pretty well.”
Mouat’s men have surged to six straight wins, including over reigning world champions Sweden, and the victory over the Russians means they have secured a top-two slot and with it the ‘hammer’ – or final stone – from the first end in their semi-final match against opponents yet to be determined.
Another day of woe for Team GB, with Dave Ryding having to settle for 13th place in the slalom and Kat Thomson pulling out of the short-track due to injury, has heaped more expectation upon Mouat’s side to ensure the nation does not end up without a medal at a Games for the first time since Albertville in 1992.
But, like his team-mate Lammie, Mouat insists he will not be adversely affected by the mounting attention and instead focus on preparing for another medal match after coming close in the mixed event earlier in the Games.
“I don’t feel any extra pressure,” said Mouat. “We’re not thinking about being medallists, we’ve got a couple more games to win.
“We’ll be throwing everything at it to get Team GB that medal. We’re just enjoying playing together and loving the experience.”
But Eve Muirhead’s hopes of a second Olympic medal were hanging by a thread after her women’s curling team lost 8-4 to hosts China.
Muirhead’s only chance of reaching the semi-finals were left resting on Great Britain beating the Russian Olympic Committee in their last match and hoping a number of other results go their way.
The 31-year-old had hoped her team had finally gained momentum with a big win over Japan on Tuesday, but Muirhead missed a clever double take-out attempt to force an extra end with her final stone.
“It’s frustrating because we are playing really well as a team and we’ve had some great performances since winning the Europeans and coming through the qualifiers,” Muirhead said.
“We need to hope a few results go our way but, because we beat Japan and the USA, we need to hope they drop a game.
“We need to come out and concentrate on our performance against Russia and focus on what we can do and then hope the curling gods are on our side.”