Muirhead back on the ice as PyeongChang preparations intensify
The hard work begins now for Perth's Eve Muirhead after the Olympic bronze medal-winning curler returns to training ahead of next year's Olympic Winter Games.
Team Muirhead were announced in June as Team GB's representatives for PyeongChang 2018, with the skip now preparing for what will be her third Olympic Games.
A summer break is over and from now until February Team Muirhead will be preparing to build on last season's performances that saw them pick up bronze medals at both the European and World Championships.
Four times a junior world champion and once a senior gold medallist, Muirhead knows what it takes to win on a global stage, and is ready to bring all her experience to another shot at the Olympic title.
"The feeling has all sunk in now that we're going to another Olympic Games," said the 27-year-old, who acted as a ‘tail runner' at a recent Falkirk parkrun as part of UK Sport's #teamparkrun initiative to allow elite athletes to say thank you to the public for their support.
"Our couple of months off the ice are now over, we're back on the ice this week and back to really hard training.
"We're hungry to get going, hungry to get into competition and I'm sure the months are going to count down really quickly.
"But it's really exciting to know that we're going to be part of Team GB again.
"At the start it's just a massive, not quite a relief, but expectation off your shoulders when you know you're selected and that it is your team.
"Now we know, we can really focus on what we can do on the ice in the lead up to the games.
"From now on it's about keeping doing what we've been doing, but also learning from the past – there's a lot of stuff we've learned in the past few years that we can do better."
After winning that senior world gold in 2013, Muirhead and her rink went into the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games as one of the favourites for gold.
The team made the semi-finals but missed out to eventual winners Canada, before beating Switzerland 6-5, in the final end, to bring home bronze.
She did not compete in the 2014 World Championships but, in the tournaments since – in 2015 and 2016 – Muirhead had failed to make the medal podium.
Undeniably the lead rink in Scotland – having won the national title seven of the last nine years – Muirhead is out to show the rest of the world that she is a contender for gold.
"Every single game we play, we learn what we can do better," she added.
"It's a case of working really closely with our support teams – we have a fantastic coach Glenn Howard who has come on board this year and he brings a lot of expertise into the games.
"So it's a case of building on every single performance, and getting better and better and leaving no stone unturned in making sure we do as much as we can to be as best prepared as we can, going into the Games.
"Our calendar now is a very planned out schedule, and it's one thing we've done well is to plan our competitions so that we have the right amount of time competing and the right amount of time at home – as well as practicing both on and off the ice.
"It's a busy season, but it's planned really well to make sure we have adequate recovery in there as well."
And with November's European Championships the only major event between now and South Korea, next February, Muirhead will be hoping to lay down a marker in Switzerland.