IT will be an enduring image of these Games. The rumble of 44 pounds of solid granite trundling glacially across the ice, the shrill shout of encouragement, the frantic sweeping of brooms and those eyes. Fierce and focused, brilliant and blue.

Eve Muirhead is back for her third Games and, if anything, she is more determined than ever, a bronze medal four years ago in Sochi serving only to increase the desire.

This is all business, those cool kids in the mountains can soak in the rays and enjoy the views but our curling rinks - who can spend six hours a day locked in mental combat - will grind it out relentlessly for two weeks.

And, once more, the country will fall just a little bit in love with the roaring game.

“It’s relentless but I love it,” said Muirhead.

“When I made my Olympic debut in Vancouver it was an eye opener. I realised that I wasn’t working or training hard enough. I knew to make the podium I had to be more dedicated.

“I stepped everything up from that moment. My whole life revolves around my sport, everything else takes a back seat. That might make me a bit boring but I’m just doing everything I can to get that gold medal here. It’s a hard life being a full-time athlete, a lot of people don’t see the blood, sweat and tears every day.”

Four years ago Muirhead’s emotions went from tears of despair to tears of relief, narrowly losing the semi-final to eventual champions Canada before rebounding 20 hours later to beat Mirjam Ott’s Swiss rink for bronze.

Three of the rink are back for more, Muirhead joined by Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams, while alternate Lauren Gray steps up to replace Claire Hamilton, the experienced Kelly Schafer now taking her reserve role.

“I love these girls but I’d be lying if I said we don’t get sick of each other sometimes,” admits Muirhead, Sloan is even dating her brother Glen, who alongside her other sibling, Tom, is part of the men’s rink here.

“We fly with each other, eat with each other, we spend time in the gym together and that’s before we practice or spend six hours a day in competitions.

“I still don’t think there is another group of girls I’d rather spend time with. We’re mates and team-mates. We have that release of talking about nails and hair and we know when we just need to have a good laugh or leave each other alone.

“We’re very honest, girls are different to boys, they have a barney and within half an hour they’re best pals again. It takes us a bit longer. I think we’ve learned to read each other’s moods, we know what to say one when of us isn’t having a good day.

“I find it hard to switch off but I guess it’s my life, it’s what I do and I love it.”

No time for a boyfriend?, ventures one feature writer, hunting the romantic hook.

“No time, I’m too busy,” shoots back Muirhead, rightly a little icily, through slightly pursed lips.

There it is again, that focus.

Muirhead’s rink start their Olympic campaign against the catchily named Olympic Athletes from Russia. Nine matches follow in rapid succession, with the final round robin against Canadian world champion Rachel Homan one week later.

But Muirhead isn’t stoking the flames of that one, hoping that qualification to the knockout phases has already been secured by that point.

“It’s not just all about Scotland and Canada, ten teams have earned the right to be here, every one of them has had success, everyone will be tough for us,” she said.

“We like to get out of the blocks really sharp, we usually seem to get better and better as the tournament goes on and hopefully we’ll get to the plays offs and step it up again when it really matters.”

Muirhead’s rink - with Canadian legend Glenn Howard providing the tactics from the sideline - won last year’s European Championships, her first win in the event in six years.

It was a timely confidence boost, especially after their bronze at the World Championships earlier in the year, their first medal at global level since Sochi.

“It’s a massive boost coming here as European champions, it proves this year we can compete against the best teams in the world,” added Muirhead.

“After Sochi there was never any doubt that I wanted to be here. Once you’ve had that taste of medal success, you’ve got the bug and you want to go back. I haven’t thought that much beyond these Games, it is tough to carry on going for four years but I can’t see myself giving up.

“Four years ago told me a lot about myself. When we lost in the semi-finals it was the toughest defeat of my career but we had a chance to put it right and we did.

“I didn’t sleep much that night. The courage and professionalism we showed to win the bronze medal, which is probably the hardest match you’ll play, will stand us in good stead again.”

Time will tell if an upgrade will be the reward for such dedication to duty.

Watch Eve Muirhead’s first match against Olympic Athletes from Russia on Eurosport Player on February 14th. Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games on Eurosport and Eurosport Player. Go to