Winter Olympics: Scots curler Hammy McMillan Jr set to follow in father's footsteps in Beijing

The Winter Olympic fire was lit inside curler Hammy McMillan Jr when his dad returned from competing at Salt Lake City with a toy mascot for his son.

Hammy McMillan (left) and Bobby Lammie of Great Britain during the official announcement of the curling team selected for Team GB for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Hammy McMillan (left) and Bobby Lammie of Great Britain during the official announcement of the curling team selected for Team GB for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But 20 years on, McMillan Jr is desperate to take the family name further and land his own golden souvenir at Beijing 2022 after being selected for Team GB as lead on Team Mouat.

It is the culmination of the best part of five years of hard work for McMillan Jr, skip Bruce Mouat, second Bobby Lammie and third Grant Hardie, who were crowned European champions for the second time when representing Scotland in November.

“My dad went to three Winter Olympics, most recently Salt Lake City in 2002,” said McMillan Jr, 29.

“I was about nine or ten; I remember what was going on and I remember him being away and actually how he was never off his bike - that was his form of fitness back in 2002.

“One of the memories I do have is that Salt Lake City had three mascots, and I’ve got two little sisters, so he actually brought home a teddy mascot for all three of us.

“Did I know I was going to get to follow in his footsteps? No, not really but once curling got to that point where I wanted to do it full-time - that was my goal.

“We want to be standing on top of that podium at the end of the week, that’s our target. We’ve had a good season this season so far, playing against the best guys on tour and winning gold at the Europeans.”

Team Mouat’s evident camaraderie is helped by the fact that McMillan Jr and Hardie are cousins.

The pair got into the sport after their grandfather returned from Canada and decided to build an ice rink in their home town of Stranraer in Scotland, and they have not looked back since.

“Everyone started playing in our family, that’s where dad did it and from that point on we were in every ice rink in Scotland watching my dad when we were younger - it was something I always wanted to do,” added McMillan Jr.

Covid-19 will prevent McMillan senior from being in China to watch his son follow in his footsteps.

But the virus is yet to burst his son’s bubble after his rink picked up silver in the World Championships in Calgary in April, losing to Swede Niklas Edin’s men - a result they avenged in the European final in Lillehammer.

“We were there for five weeks in the bubble and I had a lot of friends on other teams who found it tough. But we had a really good bubble experience because we won silver and then went straight into two Grand Slams and ended up winning both.

“We were on a constant high when we were out there - there weren’t many low or dull moments, and we thoroughly enjoyed the bubble.”

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