Curling: Farming takes backseat as Smith targets glory for Britain

(Reuters) - Britain’s Kyle Smith has swapped one family profession for another as he leads the men’s curling team at the Pyeongchang Games, leaving behind his dairy and potato farming business.

Kyle and his younger brother Cameron, who is also part of the British curling rink, come from a family who have been renowned for juggling their farming and curling commitments.

The Smiths’ father David was the 1991 world champion skip, while team mates Tom Muirhead and brother Glenn, who are sheep farmers, are sons of former world champion Gordon.

“I’m not sure, it’s kind of been a history for some reason. It could almost be all the local ice curlers at home are farmers in one way or another,” Kyle told a news conference on Saturday.

“We’ve got dairy cows and also potatoes we grow. The Muirheads have a lot of sheep and a few cows as well. Their farm’s maybe 30-40 miles away.”

Smith said his parents would visit the Olympics, with their farm assistant taking charge of the domestic business.

The 28-year-old Scot said it has been a challenge to find a balance between preparing for Pyeongchang and managing the farm but that it was very much a team effort at home.

“Last year I’ve not done as much as I could do at home because the training just has to take priority,” he added.

“But we’re always trying to help out where we can, whether it’s feeding calves before we go to the gym in the morning or milking at weekends at home... we just try and help my dad as much as we can to take the workload off.”

The British men’s curling rink kickstart their campaign against Switzerland in their first round-robin encounter on Wednesday.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Clare Fallon