Rarely, if ever these days, does Bruce Mouat step onto the ice with anything other than the explicit aim of winning. 

Whatever the championship, whatever the calibre of opponent, Scotland’s top male curler and his rink know they have the beating of every team in the world

It’s no surprise, then, that Mouat goes into the European Curling Championships, which begin today in Sweden, knowing that he is aiming for one result, and one result only. 

As defending champions, and having also won the title in 2018, 28-year-old Mouat and his rink are looking to complete their hat-trick of titles and as Olympic and world silver medallists, there is no shortage of pressure upon Mouat’s shoulders to produce a result over the coming week. 

However, that is something the Edinburgh man is entirely unfazed by. 

“I’m very excited to get back to another Europeans – we know what to expect and so we’re hoping to go back there and repeat what we’ve done before,” he says. 

“As a team, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We’ve managed to secure our spot as one of the top teams in Europe now and we want to continue that going forward. 

“But I feel like if you get to this point, you have to learn to thrive on this pressure so I enjoy it.  

“I think it’d be fair to say that we go into pretty much every event thinking we can win. We put those expectations on ourselves and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.” 

Mouat and his rink of Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie, Hammy McMillan and alternate, Kyle Waddell, begin their campaign tomorrow against Germany and later in the week, will renew their rivalry with the host nation’s Team Edin, who pipped the Scots to Olympic gold earlier this year. 

It will, however, be more than Team Edin that Mouat has to fend off if he is to complete a successful defence of his title but he is exhilarated by the strength of European curling these days rather than frustrated by the challenge it presents. 

“What we’re seeing is that European teams are dominating at the World Championships now,” he says. 

“You might go into a Europeans thinking it’s easier than the Worlds but that’s not the case at all – now, it’s just as hard to win the Europeans as it is the Worlds. 

“I think that having teams close behind you makes you work so hard to make sure they don’t surpass you.  

“It feels good having a target on our back. The competition forces us to work hard and as a team, we’ve worked extremely hard over the past five years to get to this position so there’s no point in letting up now.” 

The Olympic silver medal Mouat skipped his rink to in February was a remarkable achievement but the Scot does not shy away from the fact he is desperate to improve on that result in 2026, with every major championship from now until the Winter Olympics in Milan focused towards that. 

With the fractions between winning and losing mere centimetres – Mouat and his rink lost Olympic gold by the slimmest of margins – the Scot is conscious there is no time to waste despite his next Olympic campaign still over three years away. 

Already, the work has started to ensure he is in a position to upgrade that silver to gold in 2026 and that sense of purpose has ensured almost all his feelings of disappointment from Beijing have been replaced by a drive to grab the top step of the podium come Milan. 

“We came so close in Beijing; we were literally millimetres away from winning an Olympic gold. So we know exactly how it feels to get to an Olympic final and now, we just need to go up one more gear to get a better result,” he says.  

“So we’re trying to work out what we need to do over the next four years to get that extra few percent better. 

“It’s a great feeling to know we were so close to Olympic gold but also, we just came away from everyone’s dream of playing in an Olympic final but we didn’t win the game. It was very demoralising at the time but over the months, we began to realise what a great achievement it was and we now know what we need to do again to return to that position and, hopefully, know what we need to do next time to win that gold medal.”