Team GB world curling champs Mouat and Dodds ready for Olympic expectations

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Jen Dodds and Bruce Mouat in action during the British Curling Mixed Doubles Elite Finals
Jen Dodds and Bruce Mouat in action during the British Curling Mixed Doubles Elite Finals

Childhood curling friends Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds are prepared for the expectation that comes with going to the Winter Olympics as world champions.

The Edinburgh duo have been selected in the mixed doubles discipline and were among the first names on the team-sheet for Team GB for the Games, opening in China on February 4.

Having won gold at the World Championships in Aberdeen in May, their very first international competition together, Dodds is ready for the hunters to become the hunted at the Games.

“Going into the Worlds, we hadn’t really played at an international level so we were going into the unknown,” she said.

“Winning it gave us a lot of confidence and the belief we know we can be there and compete with the best.

“We know we can compete with the best, but also that other teams will see us as the team to beat, chasing us down and we’ll have a target on our back.

“We’re hoping to be up there challenging for the medals.”

Mouat was but a ‘wee thing' when he first met Dodds at the Gogar Park Curling Club in the early 2000s.

He was about eight, which would have made her 11 when they first laid eyes on each other at the Edinburgh rink.

Dodds firmly believes that their friendship has allowed their on-ice partnership to prosper, adding that it has evolved with her own maturing process at the highest level.

“We were good friends before we became team-mates, so it was natural to us,” she said.

“If we need to have an honest conversation, it’s to make the team better and the dynamic has been natural.

“I think it is a mutual partnership - in the past it might have been Bruce making the calls because he had more experience in mixed doubles.

“Over the last couple of seasons, I’ve gained a lot more knowledge so it’s both of us who make the decisions now, rather than just Bruce.”

The mixed doubles event made its debut on the Olympic programme at PyeongChang 2018 and several mixed gender disciplines have been added to the slate for Beijing.

They include mixed team events in snowboard cross, freestyle skiing, short track speed skating and mixed team ski jumping.

National Lottery funding is vital to the success of TeamGB and Paralympics GB – it has helped British athletes such as Mouat and Dodds to turn dreams into realities. National Lottery players help fund over 1,000 athletes which allows them to train full-time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support. This funding is crucial as they look ahead to Beijing 2022.

Mixed events were one of the stars of the Summer Games in Tokyo, with Team GB winning gold in the triathlon and swimming mixed relays. Dodds is fascinated by the new dynamic of men and women competing together and the tactical flexibility it brings.

“In the mixed, you have that slight variation and you can get different dynamics like you saw in Tokyo,” she said.

“In athletics, you see some teams put men last and some put women last, and Bruce and I can change it up if needed. It gives an extra dimension.”

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