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No cold comfort for Scots at Olympic Games

By Katie Still
BBC Scotland in Vancouver

Great Britian curling skip Eve Muirhead
Great Britain's young women's curling skip Eve Muirhead

The curling results at these Winter Olympics have been difficult for me to take.

I followed both of our teams from before the European Championships in Aberdeen.

And then, during these Games, I sat through long days and nights at the Vancouver Olympic Centre on the edge of my seat watching, first of all, the British women struggle to find any consistency.

There were glimmers of greatness from them, with wins over the world champions and now Olympic bronze medallists, China, and the European champions, Germany.

But, despite all that, they won only three and lost six - not enough to put them through to the semi-finals.

Many people wondered if having 19-year-old Eve Muirhead at skip was too big a gamble and perhaps those people may now say they were right.

That's the way it is with curling; the skip has to carry the can, but there are four players on the ice, not one.

David Murdoch is in his thirties, so you don't have to be young to lose.

My anguish watching that final play-off match between Sweden and the GB men, the reigning world champions, was almost as if I had been on the ice myself.

They too showed periods of brilliance, particularly against Canada. But, like the women, they missed crucial draws and shots by centimetres, which proved to be so costly.

The disappointment, particularly for the men, was almost unbearable to see when I had to interview them afterwards.

Three members of that rink lost the bronze-medal match in Turin four years ago and were desperate to come here and bury that demon.

Now questions will be asked as to how the best-funded athletes at the Games failed to progress into even the semi-final stages.

Snowboarder Ben Kilner
Ben Kilner reached the snowboard half pipe semi-finals

Elsewhere, I went to report on Ben Kilner, Banchory's talented half pipe snowboarder.

He came with the aim of making the semi-finals - and he did that.

He arguably could have made the finals but fell in both of his runs while pushing his abilities to the limit.

In the female equivalent, Lesley McKenna hoped to do better than she did in Turin, but alas she fell twice in the qualifier, just like she did in 2006.

John and Sinead Kerr, the ice-dancing brother and sister, had said a top-five finish was their aim.

But, once they got to Vancouver, and I witnessed the standard, for them to finish eighth was a very big achievement.

Gillian Cooke arrived at the Games with Nicola Minichiello as world champions in the two-woman bobsleigh, but their form had dropped and they sat in 10th after two runs and crashed in their third.

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see also
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
How the Scots did in Vancouver
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
GB men's curlers out after defeat
25 Feb 10 |  Curling
GB women bow out with Canada loss
23 Feb 10 |  Curling
GB snowboarder impresses in half-pipe
18 Feb 10 |  Snowboarding
Brit snowboarder has a shocker on half-pipe
18 Feb 10 |  Snowboarding
Kerrs hold onto eighth with hoedown
22 Feb 10 |  Figure skating

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