Olympic Gold Medallist Rhona Howie Gets Set To Watch ‘Stone of Destiny’ Final For First Time

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Olympic gold medal winning skip Rhona Howie (formerly Martin) will relive the whole of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games curling final for the first time when it is aired by BBC Scotland tonight at 7pm.

“I have watched the ‘stone of destiny’ moment so many times as it is a highlight that is often shown when I have been doing media interviews or attending dinners, but tonight will be the first time I will watch the whole game from start to finish,” said Howie. 

“It is going to be interesting. It will be a very different game to today’s standards, but we had a job to do and we managed to do it.”

In 2002 Rhona Martin and team mates Fiona MacDonald, Janice Rankin, Debbie Knox and Margaret Morton etched their names into Olympic sporting history and raised the profile of the game around the world as more than five and a half million stayed up into the early hours of the morning to watch that Olympic final in Salt Lake City against Switzerland.

“That week was such an emotional roller coaster, we started well then had a dip and to be honest we treated each stage as just one more game, to get to the play-offs and from there to the semi’s and then the final was also just one more game. It was a tough ten days and to be honest it was a bit of a relief when it was over,” she said.

“We were given an opportunity and each game was a stepping stone. Mentally it was tough and it shouldn’t be anything less at an Olympics.”

Howie admits that her dream of becoming an Olympian started in 1998 when men’s and women’s curling was officially included in the Olympic programme and she missed out on the chance to compete in those games.

“It was all very new back then and we had a one weekend play-off where we lost to Kirsty Hay whose rink went to those Games. That was the turning point for us. The missed opportunity really spurred us on and we trained harder than ever to make sure we were on the next GB flight to the Winter Olympics.

“Looking back, it was definitely a blessing missing out on going to Nagano 1998 even though we didn’t realise it at the time. We were not prepared enough, even if we didn’t realise that at the time. Curling then became a core sport at the Scottish Institute of Sport and it meant we had access to a range of support including sports psychology and analysis for the first time, which was massive to us. It gave us the right backing going into 2002 so we were better prepared.

Reflecting on the final stone that secured gold for Great Britain, Howie says she knew it was good at the point of delivery: “I treated it as just one more shot to play. I was quite happy as I knew it was close to what it should be, very close but it needed swept early on to hold the line and the rest is history.”

Tune in tonight for the 2002 Winter Olympics curling final at 7pm on BBC Scotland https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000l6fl

Image: WCF/ Richard Gray

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