Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds
It was almost 20 years ago when world curling champions Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds first met.
Mouat said he was just a ‘wee thing' when the two first laid eyes upon each other at the Gogar Park Curling Club in Edinburgh in the early 2000s.
He was around eight, which would have made her 11, when the pair laid the initial foundations of a friendship that would later lead to incredible sporting success.
At the World Championships in Aberdeen in May 2021, their first international competition together, Mouat and Dodds emerged as world champions.
Dodds firmly believes the long-standing friendship between the two athletes has helped their on-ice partnership prosper.
“We were good friends before we became team-mates, so it was natural to us,” said Dodds, who is bidding to add to the 1,000+ Olympic and Paralympic medals achieved by Team GB since National Lottery funding to elite sport started in 1997.
“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.”
The Edinburgh duo will compete in the mixed doubles discipline in curling at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and were among the first names on the team-sheet for Team GB for the Games.
As the defending world champions following their success in 2021, Mouat and Dodds are aware that they are now the team to beat.
Dodds said: “Going into the Worlds, we hadn’t really played at an international level, so we were going into the unknown.”
“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.”
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.”
Since National Lottery funding to elite sport started in 1997, over 1,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won, with more to come in Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond.