Bruce Mouat says a psychological reset helped him return to ‘the right headspace’ and get back to mixed doubles winning ways alongside Jennifer Dodds in Beijing.
The world champions did it the hard way in their third Ice Cube triumph, needing an extra end to beat minnows Australia 9-8.
After statement wins in their opening two games, the Edinburgh pair slipped up against Switzerland and it seems Mouat needed a pit stop.
“It was great,” said Mouat. “I feel so much more confidence in myself and my abilities again.
“That was such a good game for me to settle into this event.
“I spoke to my sports psychologist last night and I was just saying what I wanted to do and she put me back in the right headspace.
“I just took an extra second every time I was sliding out, that’s basically what curling is – we obviously try and repeat things over and over again.
“So, I was really happy with this performance.”
Mouat and Dodds leapt into a 6-1 lead at the halfway stage against Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt, who are the first Australian curlers to make the Olympics.
There isn’t a dedicated curling rink Down Under so it was a true David and Goliath contest with Britain’s program funded to the tune of more than £5million.
Australia landed their fair share of punches in the second half of the match, scoring three to capitalize on their powerplay in the fifth end and then steal two in the sixth.
Gill and Hewitt again managed to steal two in the last end, forcing an extra end which Mouat and Dodds comfortably won.
Dodds said: “I’m feeling really good, especially after that first half, that was our best performance so far.
“I missed a couple in the second half, but really proud of how Bruce and I played that game.
“We got on top of draw weight early which was important in that first half of the game.
“We’re really happy. If you said at the start of the competition we would have beaten quite a few of the teams you’d expect to be in the play-offs, we definitely would have taken that.”
With the mixed doubles competition nearing its halfway stage, Dodds and Mouat have won three and lost one and sit second in the standings, jointly with Canada.
Tomorrow they face another Olympic debutant in the Czech Republic and Italy, who sit top of the table with four wins from four.
“We’re really happy,” said Dodds. “If you said at the start of the competition we would have beaten quite a few of the teams you’d expect to be in the play-offs, we definitely would have taken that.
“We know we still have tough opponents to come, it’s a big day tomorrow against the Czechs and Italy.
“We know we just need to keep playing our best and it’s going to be tough out there, I think any of the other teams can be fighting for the play-offs right now.”
It has been a historic week for British curling with four-time Olympian Eve Muirhead chosen to carry the flag at the opening ceremony alongside skier Dave Ryding.
Dodds said: “It’s obviously a great honor for Eve, it marks her dedication and the hard work she has put in.
“She has really been a trailblazer for British curling over the past couple of years and I was happy to see her get this really special moment because not many people get to be a flagbearer at the Olympics.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.