Getting to know U.S. curler Debbie McCormick
Debbie McCormick is the vice skip of the women’s curling rink that will represent the United States in Sochi, which will be her fourth Olympic Games.
Embedded video_content_type: Curling rocks
NBCOlympics.com: So, you’re a member of the American curling team, but were actually born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. How does a Canadian-born girl become a prominent U.S. curler?
McCormick: I moved to Wisconsin when I was four.
When my dad was transferred to Wisconsin, he tells the story that the first thing he did was took the Yellow Pages and looked up curling clubs. Both my parents curled in Canada.
There happened to be a curling club in the area and whenever he’d go down to curl, we kids were allowed to go on the ice after.
I probably threw my first curling stone when I was six or seven, and probably joined my first recreational league when I was nine or 10.
I started competing when I was 13.
NBCOlympics.com: Still, most of your family is still Canadian. Do any of your Canadian relatives have trouble rooting for the U.S. in curling when you’re competing?
McCormick: I don’t let them have trouble! But it’s something that we definitely joke about.
My side of the family, they are ALL Canadian.
But I tell them that when they come to my events, that they CANNOT bring a Canadian flag.
I always say in Canada, when I compete there, that they try to “re-claim” me. But I always tell them that I threw my first curling stone in the United States and not in Canada.
NBCOlympics.com: You’re a lifelong curler who started in the sport at a young age. But life-wise, what came next after your childhood in Wisconsin competing as a curler?
McCormick: I went to a technical college in Madison called Madison Area Technical College. I did a program there and from that, I was a travel agent for three years.
NBCOlympics.com: Are there any other jobs you’ve held besides travel agent?
McCormick: I worked for TDS Metrocom, which was a telecommunications company.
Then I worked at Home Depot under the Olympics Job Opportunity Program for 10 years until they had to cancel the program.
Now most recently, I’ve worked as a distributor for a curling supplies company for a company called Goldline.
Photo: USA Today Sports
NBCOlympics.com: Is it difficult to balance holding a full-time job and training for the Olympics?
McCormick: It’s very hard.
Since the (Olympic) Trials, I haven’t had a lot of time to work, and my work is commission based.
I’m able to schedule my work around my competitive curling season, which is nice.
Somehow I make it work.
NBCOlympics.com: Speaking of training. It’s a common misconception that curlers don’t train as hard as athletes in some other sports. Since a lot of people don’t know how curlers train, how do you train?
McCormick: I work out with my trainer.
We do a lot of circuit training. I enjoy swimming. I’ve also done a couple mini-triathlons.
When I’m traveling, I try to find a fitness club or something.
I’m always trying to stay active.
NBCOlympics.com: Getting away from the competitive part of the Olympics. In 1998, you had a pretty memorable experience. Not everybody gets proposed to at an Olympics they are competing in, no?
McCormick: Yeah, we hadn’t been dating that long. But when he (my now husband, Pete) said he wanted to come to the Olympics that were in Japan, I knew it was pretty serious.
We’re not usually romantic, but he proposed on Valentine’s Day (1998) at the Zenkoji Temple. He had the ring and everything that he brought all the way from the U.S.
NBCOlympics.com: That’s pretty tough to top. But are there any other Olympic experiences you’ve had (other than competing) that are memorable?
McCormick: At the 2002 Olympics, right before Opening Ceremony, President George Bush came out and gave us a big “go get ‘em” speech.
That was right after the (9/11) terrorist attacks.
For him to be in Salt Lake City and find it important to meet with us, it’s something I’ll never forget.