RHONA MARTIN, the newly-crowned women’s Olympic Curling champion, today explained how cutting edge technology had a major part to play in the British team's dramatic gold rush.
For the past three years, Martin's squad has worked closely with the Scottish Institute of Sport - part of the UK Sports Institute network - planning and preparing for their matches on the Ogden Ice Sheet in Salt Lake.
"Without that support we would not have gone to the Olympic Games," said Martin today. "The Institute gave us a great chance of winning a medal. It does help when you have access to a range of services such as those provided by the Institute and it gave us an edge over our competitors."
The British squad - Janice Rankin, Fiona MacDonald, Debbie Knox, Margaret Morton and Martin - were able to call on innovative developments, such as a specially designed sweep ergometer, developed in partnership with Edinburgh University, which measured the impact of pressure on each member’s sweeping technique.
The team, who had individual strength and conditioning programmes developed for them, made use of the latest video and computer technology. Kenny More - an elite performance analyst - enabled the team and their coaches to quickly establish what was and what wasn't working - experience that proved highly valuable in the pressure cooker atmosphere of the Olympic Final.
The team also benefited from ACE UK (the Athlete Career and Education Programme), which helped negotiate leave of absences from work so that the athletes could concentrate fully on their preparation. Sports medicine assistance also played a key role in preventative and rehabilitation support to avoid and prevent injuries.