Dumfries curling duo Grant Hardie and Bobby Lammie embrace the expectation that comes with being medal favourites at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
They are part of Bruce Mouat’s rink and were among the first names on the team-sheet for Team GB for the Games, opening in the Chinese capital on February 4.
Joined by Hammy McMillan - Hardie’s cousin - they are one of the favourites for a podium place having won silver at the 2021 World Championships in Calgary.
They also scooped European gold on debut as a quartet in 2018, meaning much will be expected from the all-Scottish team at the Games.
“That expectation is something we probably have to embrace,” said softly spoken Hardie. “We’ve earned the title of one of the top teams in the world and if we’re going to go there and medal, we’ve got to be able to handle that.
“We’ll lean on past results and the knowledge that we’ve beaten all of these teams before. Hopefully it gives us the opportunity to go out and perform again.
“We went to the Worlds to win the gold medal and we’ll do the same at the Olympics. Given the journey we’ve been on, we’re all desperate to come away with a medal and anything else would be a disappointment.”
Cousins McMillan and Hardie were instrumental in the building of Team Mouat, which came together in its current form in 2017 and had immediate success on the World Curling Tour.
They decided to form the rink over a pint or two, first bringing Lammie on board who had played with Mouat as a junior since 2015.
The team only came together at that time when Mouat failed to qualify for PyeongChang 2018 in the mixed doubles discipline.
Hardie believes that the lengthy break from competition in 2020 helped the team, particularly when it came to improving their physicality.
When they returned, they won back-to-back Grand Slam titles in the Calgary bubble and then won world silver.
“We put a lot of work in the gym during lockdown, which you don’t normally have time to do because we’re always travelling to competitions,” he said.
“That was one of the key factors put us in a really good position for that five-week bubble and it has prepared us as well as we can to have a crack at the Olympics.”
🏆🏆🏆@TeamMouat made it a perfect Grand Slam hat-trick on the Canadian ice to continue their Beijing prep 💪
— Team GB (@TeamGB) October 25, 2021
National Lottery players help fund over 1,000 athletes, such as Hardie and Lammie, 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.
Lammie, the youngest member of the group, echoes Hardie’s confidence that they are ready to push for a podium place.
“On our day, we can beat anyone and we just need to get the processes right and execute our plan when we get to the Olympics,” said Lammie.
“We’re such a team and it’s not just Bruce calling the shots. The four of us work together and communication is very good - that’s something we’ve worked hard on in the last four years
“The only difference in the Olympics will be the hype and the media presence. When it comes down to, the stones are the same size and it’s still a sheet of ice. I’m sure we’ll manage that well.”
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