Winter Olympics: Why Edinburgh pair Jenn Dodds and Bruce Mouat have inspired the next generation of curlers

Edinburgh pair Jenn Dodds and Bruce Mouat will have inspired another generation of curlers despite narrowly missing out on the curling final in Beijing, the head of Scottish Curling has said.

By Tom Eden
Monday, 7th February 2022, 3:48 pm
Updated Monday, 7th February 2022, 5:27 pm

But speaking after their loss, Bruce Crawford said the young athletes have been "great ambassadors" for curling and will have encouraged more people to take up the "addictive" sport.

The chief executive of Scottish Curling said the defeat was a "huge disappointment" but that both curlers should be proud of their performances so far at their first Winter Olympics.

Amy Seftor represents Jenn Dodd and Bruce Mouat's club, Gogar Park Young Curlers, and was on the ice yesterday at Curl Edinburgh yesterday the Olympians competed in the mixed doubles semi-finals in Beijing. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Mr Crawford, who watched the semi-final at Edinburgh Curling where Mouat and Dodds first learned to play, said: "We were all cheering Bruce and Jen on, hoping they could get Team GB into the final.

"It is a huge disappointment that they didn't manage to do that today, but all credit to them they got us this far and we just need to look forward to the next game.

"We've already played and beaten Sweden so we need to do that again tomorrow and I just look at the positives that we can from this to take forward.

"Bruce and Jenn have been great ambassadors of the sport, they'll get more people trying curling so hopefully they'll inspire the next generation to come up.

Amy Seftor represents Jenn Dodd and Bruce Mouat's club, Gogar Park Young Curlers, and was on the ice yesterday at Curl Edinburgh yesterday the Olympians competed in the mixed doubles semi-finals in Beijing. Picture: Lisa Ferguson members of Gogar Park Young Curlers, one of Jen and Bruce’s first coaches - David Aitken and those who played a huge part in Bruce & Jenn’s journey to date and showcase the incredible community and family effort that sits behind our Team GB athletes.

"They're a young pair of athletes so there's a real sense of excitement, and we're just getting warmed up for the men's and women's events too."

Mr Crawford added: "We were very confident that Bruce and Jenn – as world champions coming into this event – would reach the knockout stages which they've done.

"As you've just seen, the margins are very small, and all of the opponents are able to capitalise on the slightest mistake and put you under pressure to make those very difficult shots.

"We're right behind them, they've played brilliantly all week and with one more game together hopefully they'll come away with a medal tomorrow.

PIC LISA FERGUSON 07/02/2022 CURL EDINBURGH AT MURRAYFIELD, EDINBURGH Curl Edinburgh with members of Bruce Mouat & Jenn Dodd’s first club, the Gogar Park Young Curlers, on the day of the they are due to compete in the mixed doubles semi-finals. members of Gogar Park Young Curlers, one of Jen and Bruce’s first coaches - David Aitken and those who played a huge part in Bruce & Jenn’s journey to date and showcase the incredible community and family effort that sits behind our Team GB athletes.

"People the length and breadth of the country have been getting right behind us, there are ice rinks that have been open through the night showing live games on the television and people of all ages and all abilities getting right behind the curlers.

"It's one of those sports that just captures the hearts and minds of the nation because anybody can try curling.

"You can have a go when you're a kid or you can have a go as an adult. It's not something that requires special equipment or a lot of money to be able to have a go and to try it.

"And, like most of us, if you try it, you'll probably fall in love with it because it's very addictive playing it as well as watching it.

Bob Mouat, father of Bruce Mouat.

"So we're hoping that lots of people will get inspired and join the ranks of the existing curlers in the country."

Following the semi final, Mouat's dad, Bob, said: "I was more nervous for the teams to get out to Beijing with Covid – the guys at British Curling and the Olympics did a great job getting them all out safe.

"I watch Bruce. I go and watch quite a few of his trips when he's abroad so I don't usually get hyper nervous, although yesterday I was nervous just to get to the finals. It's one of these things."

The 67-year-old former bank manager said: "The hardest part in my view is actually getting through the qualifying rounds and when they managed to do that yesterday that was a relief. Then it's just two totally separate games, one today and one tomorrow with the final or the bronze.

"They'll be fighting hard for the bronze medal, I can assure you. There's a lot of good teams there so it's been great to get this far."

He added: "I've watched them so much, you know, all the way up through all the under-17s, under-21s. I don't get really nervous, there's not a lot I can do.

Great Britain's Bruce Mouat and Jenn Dodds in the curling mixed doubles semi-finals during day three of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games

"When you're at the top of the tree, any team can win on any given day and today unfortunately it was the Norwegians."

David Aitken, a coach for Scottish Curling who trained both Mouat and Dodds when they were first getting involved in the sport aged eight and 10 respectively, said: "I don't think us coaches were thinking: 'I wonder who the Olympians are going to be?' As coaches you just want the kids to have fun, be safe, make friends and do a fun sport.

"That's what stood out in their early years – they were just really good members of the club.

"When they got to under-17 events in Scotland and the under-21s they started to think: 'Yeah, I really could see myself doing this' and then their focus, drive and ability really kicked in.

"Over the last few years they've really established themselves on the world stage, but doing that and bringing it to an Olympics is a different matter, especially given that preparation has been so disrupted and compromised by Covid."

A Scottish Curling spokeswoman cited the £32 million of funding from the National Lottery and UK Government for British Olympic and Paralympic winter athletes and sports that has enabled the Team GB curling team to train full time, travel to compete and work with data analysis, sports psychologists and nutritionists.

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