Bruce Mouat, the Scottish curling captain, is one of the most accomplished out gay men in all of sports. | George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE (7 Apr.): Scotland were defeated 7-6 in the bronze-medal match against Italy Sunday. Team Mouat had beaten the USA 8-4 Saturday morning but then lost 9-4 in their semifinal against Canada in the afternoon.

Scotland skipper Bruce Mouat’s takeout sealed an 8-6 victory for the defending champions over Sweden at the World Curling Championship Friday. That set up a thrilling playoffs weekend.

It was a first defeat of the tournament for the Swedes who had already secured a semifinal berth in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, before the last of the round-robin matches.

The result wasn’t enough for Mouat and his men — Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan — to automatically advance to the final four as well, however. 

Canada thrashed the hosts, 8-1, to ensure they would hang on to the second spot in the standings.

That meant a third-place finish for Scotland, whose World Championship triumph last year under Mouat’s captaincy saw him named Outsports Male Athlete of the Year.

Watching and cheering from the stands — just as he was 12 months ago in Ottawa, where the Scots lifted the silverware for the first time since 2009 — has been Craig Kyle, Mouat’s boyfriend.

The couple connected online in 2020 before they “officially” started dating the following year. 

Mouat first spoke publicly in the media about being gay in the run-up to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, where Scotland won silver

He believes LGBTQ representation is vital in sports, and explained why to Outsports in an exclusive interview alongside Kyle last December.

Referring to their visible relationship, the 29-year-old said: “We always want to encourage that individual to continue in their sport because that’s the big worry, that they won’t think there’s a space for them.

“But there always is — maybe it’s just a bit harder to find. As an openly gay man in curling, I can help by showing that our sport is for everyone.”

Such is the high standard of curling in Scotland, Team Mouat are not actually the country’s current national champions — they were beaten in the semi-finals in February — but were still selected by their federation to go for back-to-back world titles this week.

They won 10 and lost two of their 12 round-robin matches, with Germany and Canada the only teams to best them.

On Saturday morning, they will face John Shuster’s United States in the qualification game. Scotland won 10-3 in the round-robin meeting between the two teams last Saturday.

The winner of that match will then face Canada in the last four.