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Rhona Martin, Debbie Knox, Janice Rankin and Fiona MacDonald, British Winter Olympic gold medallists
Rhona Martin, Debbie Knox, Janice Rankin and Fiona MacDonald, British Winter Olympic gold medallists
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: Rhona Martin, Debbie Knox, Janice Rankin and Fiona MacDonald, British Winter Olympic Gold Medallists MARCH 3rd, 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: Well it's not too unusual on Breakfast with Frost to have the opportunity to welcome world leaders, newsmakers, movers and shakers, all onto the show. And we like to have the odd sporting hero or pop star as well to mix up the mix. But it's a rare occurrence to be able to say we're joined by the British Winter Olympic Gold Medallists. The last time Britain won the gold was Torvill and Dean, when they skated to victory back in the early Eighties. Well today I've got the greatest pleasure possible in welcoming the Women's Curling Team. Captain, Rhona Martin, Fiona MacDonald, Janice Rankin and Debbie Knox. Welcome to all of you and congratulations. Six million of us - and I was one of them - watched this, probably maybe watched curling for the first time, because there's - there's only what? One, one place where you can play curling, one rink in the, in Britain, and 30 in Scotland or something.

RHONA MARTIN: Yes, Scotland's got a lot more ice rinks available for curling.

DAVID FROST: Well let's just, we showed it at the top but let's relive in slow motion and you tell us what you were thinking that last magic moment.

RHONA MARTIN: When I played it, I thought it was okay, it's up to the sweepers then at that stage to make sure the weight's okay and get it there. But then the sweepers went behind the stone and I couldn't see a line so once they jumped in the air I realised it was, it was good.

DAVID FROST: And that moment, that shot or what's the word for it - what do you call it?

RHONA MARTIN: Throwing the stone.

DAVID FROST: Right. And, I mean how tense were you at that moment, because it all depended on that and what - how - how much leeway had you got, as you often ask racing drivers how much leeway they've got going round a corner. I mean, you had to be within an eighth of an inch of where you were aiming or what? Or did you have a bit more?


DAVID FROST: One foot.

RHONA MARTIN: Of leeway - yeah - one foot of ice to finish my stone on.

DAVID FROST: And when you started, when it, when the stone - there's one of the stones right there in the middle - how do you, Fiona, show us how you actually throw one of those would you?

FIONA MacDONALD: Okay. Well the position would be - should I go down this way? This would be the curling position and on this left foot, if you're right-handed, you would have a slidey sole ...


FIONA MacDONALD: So that you've got the momentum to move forward and you would have a grippy foot on your back foot and then - this isn't actually a full weight curling stone, this is a half stone which is used -

DAVID FROST: This is a half stone because the other one was too - and that's quite heavy.

FIONA MacDONALD: These are used ...

DAVID FROST: This floor is not too strong I don't think. And then, and then you follow -


DAVID FROST: You follow the stone.

FIONA MacDONALD: Yeah, you would then, well you're pushing forward and this is where you would put on a handle, so you would then go clockwise or anti-clockwise to make the stone curl.

DAVID FROST: And zoom, zooms down like that. And over there, now the, the famous broom. What in fact is it made of? The laws - you can do bristle or you can do a pad, can you?

DEBBIE KNOX: Yeah, various different teams use different forms of brushes, brooms, whatever you want to call them. This is a performance brush, which, this is a pad on it so it causes friction on the ice by a sweeping action backwards and forwards.

DAVID FROST: And so you can, with the brushing, you can, can speed up or change the direction of the stone?

DEBBIE KNOX: You can make the stone go further and it keeps it in a straighter line.

DAVID FROST: Show us the movement, could you?

DEBBIE KNOX: You would be in fonrt of the stone and you would just be sweeping backwards and forwards across the ...

DAVID FROST: And what does that do?

DEBBIE KNOX: The stone has a running band sort of underneath it, I don't know if this one will have it, here's the running band of the stone so you want to sweep that with all the way up the ice and that will keep the stone straighter and it will make it go further.

DAVID FROST: But so you - therefore you can speed it up, can you? Slow it down? Or -

DEBBIE KNOX: You can't slow it down.

DAVID FROST: You can't slow it down.

DEBBIE KNOX: Unless you hit it.

DAVID FROST: And what happens then, are you suspended?

DEBBIE KNOX: You have to take the stone off. The stone comes off the ice.

DAVID FROST: Do you lose a turn or ..?

RHONA MARTIN: The stone just gets taken off and the opposition then do their shot.

DAVID FROST: Has the, has the advantage and so on?


DAVID FROST: Have you ever seen that happen in practice?

JANICE RANKIN: Yeah, it does happen. You know, as the sweepers are close to the stone and accidentally hit it, you know, and then you have to take it off. It does happen - not often, because obviously that's not what you want to do but we've seen it happen a few times.

DAVID FROST: You have, have you.


DAVID FROST: And the, in terms of training, how much - you're in training for your next competition at the moment, yes?

RHONA MARTIN: Yes, we have our Scottish Championships starting on Tuesday.

DAVID FROST: Right. And do you, and is it quite exhausting, that, that 30 seconds of continuous movement with the broom? Does it - where, where do you have to be fit? In the arms or the legs or ..?

RHONA MARTIN: You have to be all round physically and mentally fit, because a game can last three hours, and we had 13 games out at Salt Lake, so you've got to be, you know physically ...

DAVID FROST: Have you got your medals with you today?

ALL: Yeah.

DAVID FROST: There they are. Magic isn't it.


DAVID FROST: Did you think you were going to win when you started, you'd got Canada and Switzerland as your main rivals, hadn't you?

ALL: Yes.

DAVID FROST: Were you confident or do you still pinch yourself.

DEBBIE KNOX: Once we got a second chance to get back into the play-off stages of the competition we were fairly confident. Before that we were sort of going on a downward slope, but when we got our second chance we just picked ourselves up and went for it.

DAVID FROST: And in fact you've been helped with Lottery money but Lottery money is drying up a bit isn't it? Less now than in 1997?

RHONA MARTIN: No we've had great support from the Lottery in the last year.

DAVID FROST: Have you?

RHONA MARTIN: Yeah, the last four years but the last year especially, and the Lottery Fund and Sport Scotland have really helped us a lot.

DAVID FROST: And can you, what's the - soccer players say eight or ten years in their prime, you all started, some of you started at 13 and ten, can you, can you go on until you're 60?

JANICE RANKIN: Well you can carry on, yeah, but not, as Debbie says, not at this level.


JANICE RANKIN: You can carry on, yeah, I mean there's curlers that play, you know, in clubs and back home, who are 60, 70, 80, and that's, I think, one of the glories of the sport, because you can play at any age.

DAVID FROST: And will you, will you be there in four years' time to defend your title?

RHONA MARTIN: I don't know - we'll finish this season first and play the Scottish Championships.

DAVID FROST: Well it's been great having you here, and I mean everybody - it was 5.7 million, I think, people watching and they probably didn't know they were about to watch but when you started watching, when you started watching there was no way of switching off. Congratulations, because it's not since Torvill and Dean, it was a real, it was a real thrill because until that moment people were feeling, the UK was feeling a bit left out.


DAVID FROST: And you put us on the map, thank you very much indeed, congratulations.


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