Rhona Howie, nee Martin, was skip of the Great Britain team that claimed gold at the Winter Olympics in 2002 and deliverer of the “stone of destiny” that sealed that famous triumph.
Rhona took up curling at 16 and soon experienced success on the world stage in the junior ranks. This grew and in 1998 she skipped her team to a silver medal at the Europeans and narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2000 World Championships.
There was a silver lining in that the rink qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where Rhona lined up with Debbie Knox, Fiona MacDonald, Janice Rankin and Margaret Morton.
Rhona inspired the rink through the rounds and into a final against Switzerland which they won in dramatic fashion to become Team GB’s first gold medallists at the Winter Olympics since figure skaters Torvill and Dean in 1984. Back home, millions watched the final late into the night on television, giving curling unprecedented exposure.
The triumphant Scots arrived home to a heroes’ welcome. Rhona received an MBE in recognition of her services to curling and, in 2006, skipped the GB Olympic curling team for a second time in Turin, where she also carried the team flag in the opening ceremony.
After retiring in 2006, Rhona took up coaching and went on to graduate from the UK Sport Elite Coach development programme. Having been head coach for women’s curling at the sportscotland institute of sport until 2014, she went on to work as high performance manager for Bowls Scotland.
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