YORK Olympic history-maker Ross Whyte reckons his ‘dream’ silver medal has helped catapult curling further onto the British sporting map, writes Tom Masters.

Whyte became the first English-born curler to win an Olympic medal this weekend as Bruce Mouat’s men reached the final before going down to Sweden in a 5-4 thriller.

Skip Mouat was joined by Grant Hardie, Hammy McMillan and Bobby Lammie in his rink while fellow Scot Whyte – who was born in York – was the alternate member of the British men’s team.

Whyte’s throwing and sweeping services were not required in the Chinese capital but he believes Mouat’s band of brothers – bolstered by Eve Muirhead’s women winning gold – have captured the hearts of the nation.

The two-time European champion, who now turns his attention to the Scottish National Championships, said: “It seems to have really blown up and it’s nice to see that curling has been put on the map for a little while.

“It is something that we always want to do - inspire people to try the sport, and it’s fantastic that it seems like we’ve managed to do that.

“I don’t think it’s a sport that people follow apart from during the Olympics, so to show that British curling is actually a really great sport, due to the funding from The National Lottery, is great.

"It’s great to see that people are starting to take notice and they can join in if they have a rink near them. "

Mouat’s rink topped their group after racking up eight wins on the spin to tee up a medal showdown with defending Olympic champions USA at the Ice Cube.

They held their nerve to edge past John Shuster’s rink 8-4 before a gold medal date with destiny proved a step too far.

Whyte and his teammates ran into a red-hot Swedish team spearheaded by five-time world champion Niklas Edin, who outthought and outmanoeuvred the Brits to engineer a pulsating 5-4 victory in the final end.

Their hard-fought silver marked Team GB’s maiden medal of the Games – on the penultimate day of the event – before Muirhead’s rink went one better the following day to grab Britain’s first Olympic curling gold since Rhona Martin and her storied ‘Stone of Destiny’ at Salt Lake City in 2002.

“It was really tough after the game, we were really gutted, but as soon as you got onto that podium it hit a bit of reality,” added the 23-year-old Whyte.

“Not many people can say they’ve done this, it’s what we dream of - getting that Olympic medal.

“It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life and we want to do it again, so hopefully that happens."

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