IT is fitting that Jen Dodds’ earliest Olympic memory is of watching Rhona Martin skip her team to that famous gold medal in 2002.

Twenty years on, she will be attempting to emulate Martin’s win.

Dodds and her five male team-mates were given the honour of becoming Team GB’s first athletes selected for next year’s Winter Olympics, which will kick off in Beijing at the start of February.

Dodds will compete alongside Bruce Mouat in the mixed doubles, becoming GB’s first-ever Olympic representatives in the event, and she admits the excitement of following in her compatriot Martin’s footsteps is close to indescribable.

“It’s really exciting – and to be the first British mixed team to go to the Olympics is really special too,” the 30-year-old says. “Watching Rhona Martin win in 2002 was the moment that made me aware that you could actually go to the Olympics with curling.

“I remember watching it the day after – it was a late match and because I was so young, I wasn’t allowed to watch it live so I watched a replay the next morning. That was a real moment for me and it was when I thought right, I want to do this.

“I feel like it’s not going to fully sink in until we’re actually on the plane going to Beijing.  

“And there’s still a lot going on before we head out there – we’ve still got a lot of competitions to focus on before the Olympics.”

Dodds, from Edinburgh, will be making her Olympic debut in February but she heads there with no small amount of pressure upon her shoulders.

As reigning mixed doubles world champions – her and Mouat won the title in May of this year – the pair are fully expected to be fighting for medals in Beijing and added to that, Dodds has just become European champion in the women’s event as part of Team Muirhead, proving that she is in the form of her life.

Incidentally, and in a piece of history, Mouat’s men’s team also won European gold at the weekend in what was an historic double for Scotland.  

For many, heading to their first Olympics with the expectation of grabbing a spot on the podium, potentially even top spot, would be daunting but Dodds is remarkably nonchalant about the prospect.

“I try not to think too much about winning a medal – it’s easy to dream about it but you have to put so much work in to get there so I just try to focus on everything we need to do to,” she says.

“It sounds simple but it’s just another game of curling – we’ve been on the ice thousands of times so we just need to keep things simple and make sure we play our best when we get there.

“Obviously winning the Worlds gave Bruce and I a lot of belief that we can play at that level. We were a very new team ahead of that Worlds so it was a bit like going into the unknown for that event so while that win gave us a lot of confidence, we also know that as world champions, the other teams will really come out firing against us.

“So we have to just go out there and play well – you can never know what’s going to happen but if we do play our best, we’ll hopefully be up there fighting for medals.”

Dodds may already have her place in Team GB secured but there remains considerable work to do in the coming weeks with the women’s team.  

The women have not yet made it into the Olympic Games, with next month’s qualifiers in the Netherlands their final shot at securing their place in Beijing.

In a change from the norm, this season’s women’s squad has consisted of nine players, all of whom switch in and out before the final squad for the qualifying tournament will be chosen in the coming days.

For some, the uncertainty would have proven to be severely detrimental to their performance but on the contrary, Dodds and her compatriots have risen impressively to the challenge.

Team Muirhead’s European Championship victory in Norway was particularly impressive.

The quartet of Dodds, Eve Muirhead, Vicky Wright and Hailey Duff had only made two competitive appearances together prior to last week’s event but their lack of competitive experience didn’t hamper them in the slightest.

They defeated reigning Olympic champions and defending European champions, Sweden, in the final, which bodes well for the Scots’ chances at the qualifying event, which begins on the 11th of December.

The rotating squad has made for a fiercely competitive environment but one that Dodds believes has significantly benefited every woman in contention and, she hopes, will lead to her securing a second Olympic spot in the coming weeks.

“The squad system has been a really good way of doing it – this means we’re all fighting for a place and because of that, we’ve all had to really, really raise our game,” she says.

“I’m in a different position from the others in that I’ve already got a spot at the Olympics but I absolutely want to help the women’s team get a place in Beijing too.  

“It’s all going to come down to the Olympic qualifiers next month so we just have to focus on playing well and hopefully we will make it through.”