Athletes from all over the world are beginning their journey towards gold medal glory as the 24th Winter Olympics gets under way in Beijing.
The event kicked off with the opening ceremony in the Chinese capital on Friday with team captains having the honour of lifting their countries’ flags into the ‘Birds Nest’ National Stadium.
Scottish curler Eve Muirhead shared flagbearing duties for Team GB with champion ski-racer Dave Ryding and she said her difficult journey to reach the event will make the experience all the more memorable.
Muirhead, a bronze medallist at Sochi 2014, is taking part in her fourth Olympics and is confident all three British curling teams can make it on to the podium.
Her own participation at the games was in doubt after she missed out on automatic qualification via the World Championships and had to fight through a qualifying tournament to secure her place.
But the 31-year-old, from Perth, said the challenges will make her experience in Beijing, and the honour of carrying the British flag.
Speaking ahead of the opening ceremony, she said: “To be asked to be one of the flagbearers at the opening ceremony is honestly a dream come true and something I never thought I would do.
“I never thought I’d go to a fourth Olympics either. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster to get here.
“I feel very honoured and privileged to carry the flag and it will be a memory I’ll never forget.”
Mixed doubles world champions Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds have already made a strong start to their event, while Mouat’s men’s team are reigning world silver medallists and strongly fancied for a medal.
Muirhead continued: “Bruce and Jen have made a fantastic start and they’re definitely going in there as the world champions with form, so I don’t see why there’s anything to stop us coming away with three medals.
“Of course it’s going to be tough, but we know Bruce and his men’s team are I think the best in the world right now, so they’ll fight for medals and we are also capable of beating any team in the world.”
Beijing 2022 will run until February 20 and will include a host of sporting events including skiing, bobsleigh, ice hockey, snowboarding, speed skating and luge.
It is the first time the Winter Olympics has been held in China.
As well as Muirhead, other Scottish athletes competing include Andrew Musgrave, Mili Smith, Natasha McKay and Kirsty Muir.