Britain’s top curler heading into the 2022 Winter Olympics says his success in the sport came when he came out as gay eight years ago to a sports psychologist.

“She was the one who helped me realize that being gay didn’t really matter in terms of a sport, it’s not going to affect how I play, but that before I had come out it was affecting how I played,” Bruce Mouat told the BBC.

“I feel you have to have a great team dynamic in a curling team and to have that you have to be truthful and tell them exactly what you’re feeling. I just felt like I couldn’t do that.

“After I managed to tell them, we had a great season and ended up winning the Scottish juniors for the first time before going on to win a bronze at the Worlds.

“The following year we went on to win the world juniors, so for me, as much as I can’t say for sure that it was my coming out that helped us to the success, it definitely seems to have some correlation.”

Bruce Mouat, left, with Olympic teammates Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan.

Mouat, 27, from Scotland, has won a gold medal in European competition and a silver in worlds this season along with a worlds mixed doubles title with Jen Dodds. All the while, Mouat says he has gotten nothing but support.

“It didn’t matter that I was maybe a wee bit different to the other guys I was playing with and against,” he said. “We’re all just athletes at the end of the day trying to compete for the same thing, regardless of sexuality and who we want to spend our lives with.”

Mouat will lead Britain’s four-man curling team in Beijing and also compete in mixed doubles. He will be one of a yet-undetermined number of out LGBTQ Winter Olympians.

You can follow Bruce Mouat on Instagram.