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Bruce Mouat and team mates Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie, Hammy McMillan and their alternate Ross Whyte should have been competing in Glasgow this week at the LGT World Championships. Instead the quartet like many other elite athletes around the globe, are heeding public health advice and self-isolating with their respective families, whilst training for the day when they can resume their normal schedule. 

“This week was meant to be the biggest target of our year, what we had been training for both on ice and in the gym since last July,” said Mouat.

“When the announcement was made earlier this month there was a whole spectrum of emotions, however first and foremost we knew the right decision had been made as public health had to be the priority.

“Of course there was initial disappointment when we were digesting the news. However a few weeks on from that cancellation it seems like a different world just now, as we are now dealing with the reality of this global pandemic. It has put everything into perspective and it certainly makes your priorities very clear.

“As a result of all the recent changes to routines we are all staying at home, but keeping connected as a team. Communication within any team is always important and now more than ever we make sure we have daily contact – from team meetings, discussions about training, planning ahead or even if it is just sharing quizzes with each other, it means we are all working towards the same goals and keeping our focus.” 

Reflecting on their progress this season, Mouat feels they were on track for a good World Champs campaign.

“Our last two seasons had been pretty successful and we wanted to make more progress this year. So we had a good schedule with tough events, sometimes back to back to really give us good competition experience against tough teams and tough fields,” he said.

“We were making the play-offs which kept our rankings up but it was the start of this year that started to see the hard work pay off as we stepped up a gear.

“It was good to defend our title at the Perth Masters and we followed that with another title defence as part of Team Europe in our Ryder Cup style Continental Cup. That was a huge confidence boost as it is a big team environment and you are working hard for the benefit of everyone and everyone has to play well and do their bit. So to beat Team North America again on their home patch was a great experience and one you learn so much from.

“That set us up really well for the Scottish Champs which was the toughest nationals yet and to win it for a third time in a row was, to be honest, a big relief. It meant that we could then focus on the World Champs and we really wanted to be the team that represented Scotland on home ice, so to achieve that was really special. We didn’t have the best Worlds campaign in 2019, so we wanted to get back and prove that we were good enough to be World Champs.

“We didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves, we just went out and played really well and everything clicked at the Nationals. It released the tension as we knew we were up against a lot of quality teams all battling hard for that once in a lifetime spot at a home Worlds.  

“During that week even when we had a few knocks we stuck together and kept our heads up which helped as we built momentum. We knew we played our best curling that week and it felt different this time to the previous two wins.

“It was a stepping stone to what was going to be the highlight of our careers, having home support and so many friends and family and acquaintances that all had to opportunity to come and see us compete this time because we would be in Glasgow rather than Vegas or Canada. It really was a great feeling and when that journey came to an end it was pretty gutting.

“It is hard not to think about what could have been. We certainly felt the best prepared and in the best shape we had ever been before a World Champs. We played our best at the Scottish and would have loved to have brought that to the Worlds and we will never know what might have happened.

“The whole world is now in the same position and sporting events have to take second place to the global effort now.

“We all feel both fortunate and grateful that we have been supported by our programme and for now we are getting creative as we continue to train separately whilst keeping our joint team goals on track. There are so many things you can do at home with online support and with makeshift gyms and I am doing three sessions a day – yoga, strength training with resistance bands – both in the house and getting out for one run or a walk a day and that is keeping me ticking over for now. 

“I have also been batch cooking after training which helps keep me busy and also organised for the week ahead. Like everyone we have adapted and adjusted our routine to keep safe and to stay physically fit as well. We have a lot of positives to take forward from this season and we are all looking forward to re-creating that in the new season, which will put us in a good position and in the right direction moving forward.”

Team Mouat
Bruce Mouat
Grant Hardie
Bobby Lammie
Hammy McMillan

Images: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart. 

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