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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 01:26 GMT

Martin the toast of Team GB

By Mike Haggerty in Salt Lake City

As the entire stadium held its collective breath, Rhona Martin came up with the goods as she sealed gold for Great Britain with the very last stone.

What a climax. What a skipper.

"I don't think it's really sunk in that I'm Olympic champion" said Martin in the immediate aftermath.

Speaking of her moment of truth, she said: "It wasn't the easiest shot to play because I couldn't hit it on the nose.

"We have been deeply impressed at how you have played as a team, battling and never giving up in adversity."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair

"I was confident all the way as it went down the ice. I was happy when I played it, it was on the right line.

"It was up to the sweepers after that. If the weight was OK that was fine by me".

Of the team performance, she added: "They've been brilliant, I couldn't have asked for anything more.

"They made my job a whole lot easier.

"It's just fabulous - pretty damn good.

"All the work you put in and the disappointment you go through... this just makes it all worth it."

Great Britain's Chef de Mission Simon Clegg was among the first to congratulate captain marvel.

"What a way to win a gold medal! Rhona is a very composed and focused woman and it could not have happened to a nicer person.

"Rhona Martin has written herself into British sporting history today."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair had sent the British team a good luck message before the final, saying: "We have been deeply impressed at how you have played as a team, battling and never giving up in adversity.

"You have captured the imagination of the whole UK."


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