Desire remains within Murdoch despite humbling in Sochi final

Great Britain's skip David Murdoch (centre) during the Men's Gold medal match at the Ice Cube Curling Centre during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire).
Great Britain's skip David Murdoch (centre) during the Men's Gold medal match at the Ice Cube Curling Centre during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire).
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David Murdoch will take a well-earned holiday to consider his curling future after his Great Britain side were humbled 9-3 by Canada in their Winter Olympic final in Sochi.

The 35-year-old skip had achieved a lifetime ambition when qualification through the semi-final against Sweden had guaranteed him his first Olympic medal at the third time of asking, after falling short at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010.

However, there was little danger of him taking a gold back from Russia after GB fell behind early against an aggressive Canadian team in the Ice Cube Curling Center.

Murdoch trailed Brad Jacob’s rink 5-1 after three ends and lost another point in the sixth before the Lockerbie-born curler ended his misery by offering handshakes with two ends remaining.

Afterwards he could not commit to attempting to go one better in four years’ time when the Games move to Pyeongchang, South Korea, looking first to spend some time in the sun with his Canadian wife, Stephanie.

“It’s maybe the start of something special for this team and these guys so I will have a think,” he said.

“I will speak to my wife. I’m overdue a holiday and a honeymoon.

“All my holidays have been used for other things so I will have a little think.

“I don’t think she will be very happy we lost but she has been super cool, she has helped me through everything and I can’t wait to see her.

“She is from Vancouver Island and that is a super cool place but I want to put my feet up in the Caribbean and enjoy some rays. It will be nice to get some sun.

“I still have that desire, maybe now I have silver I will come back and try for a gold. I really don’t know.”

Asked if the defeat had left his emotions mixed, he said: “It just feels that you have had a kick in the teeth.

“Once that is over we will look at what we have achieved and it’s a silver medal, something I have chased for such a long time.

“I’m really proud of the guys for everything we did.”

Murdoch, though, admitted his team had all but lost their gold medal chance after only three ends of what was a dismal performance.

“Sometimes you don’t mind so much losing when you put on a good performance,” he said.

“But we struggled early on and allowed them to dominate.

“You have to make sure that you force pressure early, but we let them gain confidence.

“We let them take a two on us early, we didn’t get it back and we didn’t have a good end in the third and that was the game-changer.

“We were in a lot of trouble and against a team like that... there isn’t even a team in Canada that can fight back to beat those guys once they are up so we knew it was always going to be a Herculean task to get back into it.

“It’s tough to deal with. You’re hoping for misses and against a team that is playing very well you’re not going to get that.

“So you’re going through the motions and hoping something generates but credit to them, they played extremely well.

“It’s an Olympic final and these things happen, one team was going to lose and it just wasn’t to be.”

Canada’s Ryan Harnden claimed GB’s Swedish coach Soren Gran’s assertion beforehand that the Canadians were too aggressive only served to fire them up more.

“Yeah we were aware of that, that definitely lit a fire under us,” he said.

“It doesn’t make us mad or any of that, it actually makes us play better.

“We’re an emotional team, we’re always going to be like that.

“I think it’s good for the game, I think it’s changing the game, that’s what the game needs.”

Gran looked to shoulder the blame for the defeat, while stressing the ultimate achievement.

“I’m really, really disappointed with the final, but overall, I think the silver medal absolutely is a good result for us,” said Gran.

“We were struggling with our game and then the few chances we had, we didn’t take any.

“I don’t blame anyone on my team for this defeat, absolutely not.

“I take more blame on myself for not preparing them in the best way for the finals.

“Not any specific reason. We were very happy to come to the final but then you have to mix it up with a little bit of relaxation; to say ‘okay, enjoy the moment guys’ and then get them on fire.

“I didn’t get it the way I wanted to.”

Great Britain flag bearer Jon Eley suffered similar disappointment to short-track speed-skating colleague Elise Christie as he was eliminated in the semi-final of the men’s 500m in Sochi.

“I’m very disappointed not to get to the final but I am pretty pleased with the way I have turned my season around,” he said.

“At Christmas I was struggling and didn’t think times like this would come again.

“The past couple of days I have been skating better than I have ever skated before. I was feeling up for it, I skated beautifully in the quarter-final and it was just a slip in the semi-final cost me.

“It was a mistake by me but it is what happens in our sport and you have to deal with it.”

Berkshire’s Andrew Matthews joins Yorkshireman John Baines of Thirsk as part of the GBR2 four-man bobsleigh team for the four runs over the next two days.