IT would be entirely forgivable if Bruce Mouat was feeling completely overwhelmed with the current weight of pressure upon his shoulders. 

The British team which has descended upon Beijing for the Winter Olympics boasts only a handful of medal chances - and Mouat represents two of those. 

The Opening Ceremony may yet still be a couple of days away but ahead of the flame being lit in the Olympic Stadium, the curling competition will begin and Mouat will start his quest for what could end up being an historic few weeks. 

When the 27-year-old was unveiled as one of the very first members of Team GB for these Games, he immediately wrote himself into the record books by becoming the first British curler to be selected for two events at the Winter Olympics; both the men’s and the mixed doubles. 

However, he has far more expectation to deal with than merely pulling on the tracksuit. 

Over the next fortnight or so, it is not outwith the realms of possibility to suggest Mouat could be crowned a double Olympic champion, surpassing even compatriot, Rhona Martin, who memorably won gold twenty years ago. 

There is, clearly, considerable work to be done before the Edinburgh man gets anywhere near such a feat. 

Today Mouat, alongside his childhood friend, Jen Dodds, will begin their mixed doubles campaign, before the men’s event, which will see Mouat team up with Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy MacMillan, begins a week later. 

With Mouat and Dodds the reigning mixed doubles world champions, as well as Mouat and his men’s rink the current world silver medallists and European champions, the Edinburgh man has established himself as one of the hottest properties in the sport. 

However, he is refusing to get bogged down by any pressure that is surrounding his Olympic debut. 

“The Olympics are a dream for so many athletes so to be going to our first one with a realistic chance of medalling fills me with so much excitement,” he says. 

“I’ve always believed in that saying that pressure is a privilege. If people are thinking that you’re a good medal chance and they’re piling pressure on, that’s probably a good thing. 

“I’m realistic in acknowledging that the Olympics are different to any other event but I’ve managed to deal with pressure a lot in my career so far and I feel like I’ve coped well with it.  

“It’s such a privilege that people have been talking about us in the build-up to these Games and hopefully, they’ll be talking about us a lot more in the days and weeks to come because we’ve done really well.” 

Over this Olympic cycle, Mouat has established himself as not only one of the best curling talents Scotland has ever produced, but also one who can perform when up against the very best the rest of the world has to offer. 

Over the past year, he skipped his men’s rink to victory in three Grand Slams, coming second in a fourth. 

It was an historic run of results and after backing it up with European gold last November, Mouat could not be in better form heading into Beijing. 

“The form we’ve been in this season has been great,” he says.  

“We’ve had the opportunity to play the world’s best and every time we’ve gone out onto the ice, we’ve played some of the best curling we have in the four years we’ve been together so that’s very exciting. 

“The challenge now is to maintain that level of play in Beijing. 

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into things off the ice - we’ve worked very hard with sports psychologists, nutritionists and things like that to try to find that extra one or two percent that might make the difference over the next few weeks.” 

Growing up, Mouat’s Olympic obsession began early. 

His earliest Olympic memories are of watching the 2004 Olympics in Athens as a nine-year-old and while it was then his aspirations of becoming an Olympian himself blossomed, it was not on the ice he imagined fulfilling that dream. 

“I remember Dame Kelly Holmes win her two gold medals and I was obsessed with those Games in 2004 – I made my mum and dad buy me the soft toy of the mascot and I got the computer game on Playstation and everything. 

“I thought it looked amazing and knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” he says.. 

“I was a very sporty kid and especially was very into swimming and so at that point, I’d have thought if I got to the Olympics, it’d be in swimming. But I’m not sure I was quite cut out for the morning routine of swimmers and so I then ended up getting into curling.” 

His potential was clear early on; a hugely successful junior career included a world junior title while his senior career has already seen him pick up a raft of major titles and medals. 

However, he is quick to admit that an Olympic medal, or maybe even two, would be the ultimate achievement and therefore, he is doing his utmost to ensure that he doesn’t allow himself to think too much about the potential of getting his hands on any silverware over the next fortnight. 

“So far, I’ve done really well to stop myself getting too excited about what could happen,” he says.  

“I’m very focused on what we need to do, and with all the Covid protocols, I honestly don’t feel like there’s been much time to think about anything else. 

“As the days go on though, I’m going to have to make a real effort to make sure I don’t get ahead of myself and just focus on the job in hand.”