Allison Pottinger is a skip on the 2014 Team USA women’s curling squad which will be competing for Olympic Gold in the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, beginning February 5.
Pottinger is currently a resident of curling crazed Eden Prairie, Minnesota where she resides with her husband Doug (also a world class curling performer) and their two daughters.
This is the second trip to the Olympics for Pottinger, who competed in the 2010 games held in Vancouver, Canada.
Pottinger recently spoke to Double G Sports about her passion for the sport of curling and her preparation for the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Double G Sports: How did you get involved in the sport of curling?
Allison Pottinger: I first started curling in 1984 in Quebec, Canada, when I was in the sixth grade. In those days, curling tended to be a family sport and our family was no different. My mother, father, brother and sister all curled.
DG: Was there one or more individuals responsible for your development in the sport?
AP: It would definitely be my dad who first taught me. He worked with me on my delivery, shot – all facets of the sport. I wouldn’t be at this level without his help and support over the years.
DG: How much time do you devote to practice and training to maintain your world class status?
AP: In a normal week, when I am not competing, I practice and train 5/ 6 days per week. I am usually at the rink early in the morning and then back again in the early evening. Repetition and routine is so important to success in curling. During the year, I usually take April and May off and then resume my training regimen; so training runs 10 out of the 12 months.
DG: You also hold a full time job, so time management is important?
AP: Absolutely, and I work so hard to use my time in the right ways. It is so vital because you need to strike a balance between family, work and curling. My entire family has been so supportive; of course, my husband being an elite curler makes it easier. My support system at work (Pottinger is a Consumer insights Manager for General Mills) has been just so great!
DG: Would you characterize curling as a team sport?
AP: No question, it’s huge. Being able to communicate and call the game on ice is critical. The more time you spend with your teammates on and off the ice the better.
DG: This is your second trip to the Olympics, what will be different?
AP: In Vancouver (2010), the Opening Ceremonies were just overwhelming, so I won’t have that to deal with in Sochi. Also, the pressure is so intense, so having that previous Olympic experience will really help. As far as security/political issues, we have received a number of briefings and that shouldn’t be a concern.
DG: What is your most special curling moment?
AP: I would have to say winning the USA’s first-ever gold medal at the 2003 World Championships in Winnepeg, Canada was special. It was the culmination of years of hard work and patience. We were the underdogs but ended up beating the best, Team Canada, which added to the occasion.
DG: Who are the favorites for the gold at Sochi?
AP: That would be Scotland, Sweden and Canada. Our team has lots of world class experience and success, so we will be clearly in the hunt for one of the three medals. We head over to Munich, Germany on February 1, and the games begin on February 5, I cant wait!