Olympic Spotlight: Meet Craig Brown of Team USA Curling
Craig Brown is a skip and alternate on the 2014 Team USA men’s curling squad which will be competing for Olympic Gold in the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, beginning February 5.
It is Brown’s first time on the Olympic squad after coming close in ‘02, ‘06 and ‘10.
Brown currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin where he is married with one son.
Brown is a member of what many consider to be “Curling’s First Family” which includes his sister, Erika (who is a member of the Team USA women’s squad), as well as his father, Steve, who is a legendary figure as a player and coach in the sport of curling.
Double G: How did you get involved in the sport of curling?
Craig Brown: I first started curling in 1989 with, of course, my family. In those days, curling was such a family thing to do. I really didn’t enjoy it at first, but then realized that there was a lot to the sport.
DG: Was there one or more individuals responsible for your development in the sport?
CB: For sure it was my father, Steve (3 time US National Champion), who grew up in the tiny town of Galesville, Wisconsin (pop 992). The curling rink was just a few steps from his house so that’s where it all started. He taught me everything there was to know and more about the sport; the knowledge, patience and passion for the sport.
DG: Tell me about the practice and training required to maintain your world class status?
CB: It’s all about the practice and practice and more practice. Repetition is a huge piece to succeed at the elite level along with patience and an ability to communicate with your teammates. Physically speaking, anyone can enjoy the sport but it is the mental side that is so important. It’s a finesse sport so things like rhythm, touch, reading ice surfaces, strategy are keys to success.
DG: Would you characterize curling as a team sport?
CB: Yes! Most casual observers have no idea of how crucial it is to be able to communicate on ice strategy and tactics with your teammates.
DG: This is your first trip to the Olympics, How do you feel?
CB: It’s unreal after coming so close on three other occasions. A reward for years of hard work and patience. It really won’t sink in until I’m on the plane with Team USA and headed to our first stop in Munich, Germany on February 1. Then it will be the real thing for me.
DG: Who are the favorites for the gold at Sochi?
CB: Team Canada, for sure. There are ten times as many curlers in Canada as the rest of the world, so they are the team to beat, however, the rest of the world is quickly catching up with them. Also Sweden is the defending world champion, so they are in the mix as well. Team USA, we are clearly an underdog, but I believe we have a great chance to be up on the podium at the medal ceremony.
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