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68OLYMPIC REVIEW MIRJAM OTT TWO- TIME OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALLIST DAVID MURDOCH 2008 EUROPEAN CHAMPION What has been the secret of your success competing against some of the " bigger" curling countries? Switzerland is not a big curling nation compared to Canada. We are similar in size and structure to countries like Scotland and Sweden. We only have about ten top- level curling teams but we have a very good structure, good ice rinks and good ice- masters. That means we have a good level of competition, and that allows us to compete at the highest level across the world. After winning silver medals in Salt Lake City and Turin, what expectations do you have for Vancouver? I'd love to win the gold medal. I've come very close twice before, especially in Turin. Right now, we've had a very good season. We won the European Championships in 2008 and have just spent three weeks training and preparing in Canada. I would say we're on the right track. Who will be the team to beat at the Vancouver Games? Canada is the team to beat, and European teams will be strong too, especially Sweden. But I think China will also be a real medal contender in Vancouver. They won silver at the last World Championships. Right now they have a really good team, and are living in Canada and training with a Canadian coach. After a personally successful 2008, what will the lead- up to Vancouver be like? We're following a very intense programme that's been steadily building up for the past few years. Right now we're training and competing with a six- man group that will be reduced to five for the Games. It's going very well, but it's a very hectic schedule. How much of a role do ice conditions, or the venue, play in top tournaments? They play a huge role. When you have top ice- makers preparing the ice it's fantastic, it allows you to curl around stones and play a far more aggressive game. At the past two Olympic Games the ice was a lot " straighter" – at Turin it was like a game of skittles! I think in Vancouver we can look forward to an aggressive tournament, and that's always more entertaining. As a former dairy farmer, is there anything you miss about your former job? I certainly don't mind not getting up at four in the morning! I still keep an eye on the farm, but I would say right now I have an absolute dream job – extremely different from farming. And, competing at the highest level regularly has allowed us to step up a whole new level. BelowMurdoch and Ott in action on the ice SPORTS PROFILES