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Britain taste 82-year-old gold

10 February 2006

After an 82-year-wait, Great Britain was finally awarded its curling gold medal from the Chamonix Olympic Winter Games.

Persuaded by a Glasgow newspaper, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) fixed an eight-decade-old injustice by deciding to present honorary medals to the four British curlers from the first Winter Games in 1924, when curling was believed to be a demonstration sport.

 The Royal Caledonian Curling Club’s records from the Games stated that the sport was an official event of the games and therefore the IOC deserved to recognise it and award medals to the deserving nations.

“We have always been aware that our sport had a great history and we knew there had been curling in 1924,” World Curling Federation president Roy Sinclair said.

Britain beat Sweden 38-7 and France 46-4 in outdoor matches consisting of 18 ends. However, they were not allowed to defend their title as curling wasn’t a part of the Olympic program again until Nagano 1998.

The team consisting of Willie and Laurence Jackson, Robin Welsh and Tom Murray gave Britain its second curling gold after the 2002 victory by the woman’s team skipped by Rhona Martin in Salt Lake.

Britain has now won eight Winter Olympic gold medals since 1924.

Florence Syers also won a figure skating gold medal when it was an event in the London 1908 Summer Games.

Before the news broke, Britain’s Chef de Mission Simon Clegg stated he was looking for his team to win one Olympic medal of any colour in 2006.

They have accomplished this before any competition has begun.

“We are delighted that the curling result of 1924 has been recognised by the IOC,” he said.

In Torino, curling begins on 13 February (Day 3) when Great Britain meets Italy in the men’s competition.

Tom Read/AOC

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