Friends and family of the British men’s curling team have said they have “no doubt” the squad is destined for gold medals despite losing their final at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Skipper Bruce Mouat, Hammy McMillan, Bobby Lammie, Grant Hardie and alternate Ross Whyte can take solace in becoming Britain’s first medallists of the Games, winning silver in defeat to Sweden.
Their efforts were recognised by the Queen, with a tweet on the Royal Family’s account shortly after their 5-4 defeat reading: “Congratulations @TeamMouat on your Silver Medal and bringing home @TeamGB’s first #Beijing2022 medal! You should be incredibly proud of your performance this week”
Watching at Edinburgh Curling Club, where Mouat has trained since the age of eight, was his mother Marie Mouat, his partner Craig Kyle and mixed doubles curling coach Gregg Drummond, as well as dozens of other friends and supporters.
Following the close 5-4 defeat, Mr Kyle said he was thrilled that the team managed to reach the final, and said he was confident they were capable of winning gold at future Winter Olympics.
Speaking to the PA news agency, the 27-year-old said: “I’m obviously disappointed, but that was still amazing. It’s still a silver so I’m thrilled.
“Bruce has been relentless. With training, he’s been so focused the whole time and working so hard.”
Commenting on how nervous Mouat would have been feeling during the final, Mr Kyle said: “His heart would have been going absolutely mental, insane.
“But he managed to keep that poker face he claims to have and he still managed to pull off some miracle shots.”
He added: “To be here with friends and family was great, the support from everybody was amazing.
“Everybody came to watch and it’ll mean a lot to him as well, having everyone here together – especially as we couldn’t be there.
“We’ll be there in four years, there’s definitely gold in that team but it’s just the small margins.”
Mr Drummond, who is engaged to women’s curling finalist Vicky Wright and coached Mouat and Jennifer Dodds in the mixed doubles, said the men would be “devastated” but will “fight tooth and nail” to win gold in four years.
He said: “It was a really, really high standard match, the best two teams in the world going toe to toe for the gold medal and the standard was through the roof.
“That’s the way a gold medal should be fought for.
“The boys will be hardened right now, it’s a tough one to take, They set their team up four years ago to win this gold medal but I don’t doubt for one minute their day will come.
“I think they just have to reflect on the journey as a whole, and that that journey is not possible without the National Lottery funding. Everyone that plays the National Lottery in the UK is supporting British sport and moments like this in particular.
“At the end of the day, we have to remember they won a silver medal so it’s definitely an achievement to be proud of.”
Speaking next to the ice rink, he said: “The atmosphere has been great in Edinburgh this morning. I’ve really enjoyed my time here watching the game but I think everyone in British curling is really proud of both teams.
“We’ve delivered two medals, hopefully the girls can go one better in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The women’s four of Wright, skipper Eve Muirhead, Jennifer Dodds and Hailey Duff, face Japan early on Sunday aiming to become Britain’s first Olympic champions since Rhona Martin’s team in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Mr Drummond added: “There’s just an incredible amount of work that goes on back at our training centre, I have a front row seat to Bruce Moat and the guys and there’s no rest for the wicked – they are chasing perfection.
“This team is phenomenal, the curling IQ level is through the roof.
“Grant Hardie in particular, I can’t speak highly enough of his intelligence. It’s a pleasure to watch them play.
“The shotmaking from Bruce as the skip is up there – he’s the best last rock thrower we’ve had in Scotland – I’ll go on record and say that.”