Exclusive: Olympic Curler Nicole Joranstaad Talks to the dailySpark

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Nicole Joranstaad has been curling since she was a teenager, but this marks her first Olympics. This 29-year-old Madison, Wisconsin, resident is committed to healthy eating and goal setting to help her achieve her Olympic dreams. Though they're out of the running for a medal, they're still playing and giving each match their all!

Stepfanie: What is your favorite go-to meal?

Nicole: Turkey enchiladas! I use ground turkey, enchilada sauce and then whole-grain tortillas, with low-fat Cheddar cheese. That's pretty much one of my favorite things to cook.

Stepfanie: How important is nutrition to your performance?

Nicole: If we fuel our bodies correctly, then we'll perform better. Our game is 2 1/2 hours, so it's kind of a timing thing with food--and we play several games a day--so in the morning, I always want to start with oatmeal and berries because that keeps me going longer. And I always bring different fueling snacks out on the ice with me.

Eating the right foods at the right time, making sure I get enough carbs and protein because our sport is so long is key for us.

Stepfanie: How did you fall in love with curling?

Nicole: My dad had played and then got me involved when I was about 15. I got on a junior team that was quite successful--we went to nationals in 1996--and I had only been playing a couple of months and was 15 almost 16. And we got to go to New York. I thought, "Wow! You get to travel." That was kind of alluring, and I played every day. My dad had to drive me an hour and a half to north Seattle just to take me curling…. It just became an addiction. … And I decided if I was going to curl, I would need to move to the Midwest, and they supported me moving to Madison 10 years ago.

Stepfanie: How important is goal setting in your training?

Nicole: Our team has always been big on goals. We set short-term and long-term goals. Four years ago when our team formed, our long-term goal was to get into the Vancouver Olympics. But short of that, we wanted to be playing in the national championships and winning, going on to the world championships and medaling.

We have goals for pretty much everything. We all have fitness goals, we have certain commitments to off-ice training, on-ice training. We all don't live in the same city, so a lot of that reinforces our team work.

Confession: I knew almost nothing about curling before learning that I was going to interview Nicole. She said the biggest misconceptions are that most people don't realize that the stone weighs 42 pounds! Also, though they say that they "throw" the stone, they really slide it. Do you know much about curling? Have you ever played it? Want to read more of our Olympics coverage? Click here.

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I thinking Curling is such a joke when it comes to a "Sport." It is like thinking of "bowling" as a Sport. Report
I don't know what it is about curling, but it makes me grin every time I see it. Kudos to everyone on the US Olympic team and our Canadian Curling neighbors as well. Report
I saw the USA team curling on the televised Olympic coverage! I was sorry to read that the USA team is eliminated from a medal for the 2010 games. Here's cheers in advance for the 2014 games! I never thought about the stamina required to play. Thank you Nicole for interviewing for SP. Report
Congrats to Nicole and the team! We Madison Sparkers are proud of you all! Report
Have curled in the past. In fact it is about the only competitive sport I have enjoyed playing. You do keep active enough that you don't really notice that you are on ice and in cool temperatures, of course you do need to dress sensibly. It is a great sport for almost any age to try, teen-agers thru til 80's or so!! Report
I would love to try curling! I love watching it, even though it is not a conventionally exciting sport to watch. Report
Only what I see on TV. It looks like fun, though! Report
I watched my parents & aunt & uncle play when I was a child. They played regularly & were in many bonspiels (hope that is spelled right). I did try it once at a family get together/reunion. I was fun, but I'm not fond of being cold that long. Report
Great article. Don't know anything about curling. Report
I have curled and it is a lot of fun. It looks so easy on tv, but there is a lot of strategy involved and throwing the stone where you want it to go at the right weight is no easy task. Report
I have curled before and since my husband curls 4 times a week, we watch all the curling. I love the startegy of the game. If you are on the front end of a team, you get a real workout sweeping those stones. The Brier is being held in my home town this year so I plan to go and see it live. I am hoping that Canada gets 2 golds for curling at the Olympics. Report
Curling is one of those things that I've only seen at the Olympics. Never tried it and it really is not a sport for tv, sorry. Seems like a lot of strategy going on though. Report
Don't know much about it. Report
Have seen it at the Olympics. Have never known anyone who curls. Report
I love curling - I have curled on couples and women's leagues. It is great fun and wonderful exercise. Report
Being a former competitive curler (and a Canadian), I understand the difficulty is staying fueled for a whole game, and sometimes several games over a weekend. There is so much more science to eating for sports now then there was when I curled. I love watching the sport and am rooting for the Canadians, of course. Go Canada Go!!! Report
I've always thought this would be a a great sport. I've never seen it though except on television. Report
I just love the Olympics, My mom is really into curling, me not as much, but do love to see my team go all the way. "Go Canada, Go" Report
I had no idea curling matches were so long! Holy cow!

I also didn't know that what they throw is called a "stone" nor that it weighs 42 pounds. So basically all I know about curling is from what I watched of the Olympics for about five minutes. Report
It just goes to show you, we don't have to watch a contact sport to get excited. curling is so much fun. I love that it is a thinkers game. I have tried it a couple of times. Not as easy as it looks. These folks make it look easy. Go Canada. Report
Interesting. But I would rather hear about the Canada team. Report
Part of the Olympics is to expose the world to other cultures. Every time the games are held, I learn more about our world. Part of being healthy is nurturing your curiosity. There is always more to explore!!! Report
My question would be is, has anyone heard of Jam Can Curling? I come from a really small town (was 2000 people hen I was a kid, now its grown to 3000), I remember that the game is very simular to the real thing, but the sheet is maybe half the size, and the rocks are somewhere in the 5-10 pound range, easier for 5 year olds to push. Tons of fun hen I was in school.

Curling was actually on the family edition of The Amazing Race. They couldn't leave the Continent of North America, but travelled to I believe it was Montreal and did some curling there as part of their tasks.

Also, one of the mens teams, he's from Canada, I swear he looks like the Fountain Tire guy. Not sure why. Too bad for the womens teams for Canada was not Jennifer Jones, A fellow Manitoban. I live a few blocks from where she actually curls. Report
REALLY? The midwest is big for curling? I'm from the Chicagoland area and have NEVER seen it prior to the Olympic coverage.
I have never watched curling before, but my family are hooked watching it in the Olympics now. Way to go. Report
Never "curled" anything but my hair...lol. Seriously, this sounds like an intense sport. I have watched it before and am amazed at how they control (or try their best to) the "stone".

Interesting interview...thank you for sharing...Deb Report
Great article. Report
Thank you for sharing. This is on of my favorite parts of Spark, learning other Sparkers stories.
Have another healthy, happy day! Report
I am new to watching curling but really enjoyed watching the womens curling and learning what the rules are. Report
I live in northern Saskatchewan and curl once a week recreationally in a ladies' league at our local curling rink-it is a great sport and helps pass the winter. Bonspiel season has started-that is when you go to the surrounding towns and curl in their once a year tournaments-again a great way to pass the winter! Report
For those that asked about rules, here is a clear and easier to read than some handbook from Canadian Curling Association:

I am Canadian and yes, I know about the sport, played the sport and love the sport. For me, its a family affair as my parents are huge fans. My uncle played in provincials. My good friend, he was on the Junior team in Saskatchewan and taught me how to curl. It's a real workout, the sweeping is incrediably aeorbic and strength training at the same time. When you start off you never lift the stone because it is very heavy and you could seriously injure yourself. It takes much practise and even after a year, I could only lift it a little bit before sliding it down the ice. There is much technical difficulty with this sport and great teamwork is a must. I love curling!! Good interview. :)

ps: I feel for all you in the USA, curling continues for us up here in Canada as there is still Worlds and the Brier in March (men's competition for Worlds qualifications). For us curling and hockey are our national sports...so the love continues even with the Olympics closing down. Report
I've been watching curling during these Olympics & it definitely looks like a specialized sport! Can't believe the stone weighs 42 lbs. They are so precise when "throwing" it. GO TEAM USA!!! Report
I first learned about curling 4 years ago at the last Olympics and really enjoyed it. Since then I have been looking for a rink to play but not very hard. It wasn't until this Olympics did I really got into it. I even got my husband, my husband's grandmother, my younger sister and few facebook friends to enjoy the game. I don't understand it completely but the more games I watch the more I understand. I know I am going to be greatly saddened when the Olympics end because no more curling, every four years just isn't enough. Looks like I am going to have to join a league because I am infatuated with the sport. Report
I don't watch sports on TV, but I do like watching the Olympics. Curling has become one of my favourite sports to watch. We were able to catch some of the US vs UK match the other night. (Having an 8 hour time difference does make it difficult to watch live)

Although I am terrible at curling, I AM Canadian, so I LOVE to watch it when it's on TV. There's been a lot of Olympic coverage, so yay for that! (And for both Canadians teams being in the running for gold!!) Report
Thanks for an interesting article. Report
I myself have never tried curling, but living in the midwest am real aware of the sport and have many relatives who play. Report
Nice to see someone from Madison in the Olympics! GO USA!! Report
I knew nothing about curling until I watched it this year. Go USA! Report
I have always watched it when it was on. It became addicting after a while. This year I was amazed at how many people were watching. Report
for a long time I didn't know what it was I called it the tea kettle challenge. It just draws my attention. I didn't realize how much it work it was to do!! Report
I enjoy watching curling - I don't understand all the rules but it looks like it would be fun to try sometimes. I need to look up the rules so when I watch it, it would make more sense to me. Go USA!! Hard to believe the Olympics are almost over. Report
My husband is a big fan and explained it all to me. It requires so much control and strategic thinking. I really enjoy watching it and have considered joining a local rink - here in Canada they are in many small towns... maybe when the kids are older and can join me! Report
I watch a news program that told about it. I did not really know much about it before that. Report
Have not been able to see one of the programs with the event, they
are so interesting to watch.42 lbs wow! never knew that. Report
It is a great sport. I found that Curling became too expensive for me to become a Pro in the sport. I miss it though. Report
I have enjoyed watching the curling... not a sport i was a big fan of, but i find it kind of interesting now. I think i might try to learn a little more about it!! Go USA :) Report
Sorry, I am not a fan of curling. I am a hockey fan but it seems that olympics have broadcast the curling 24/7 but only show bits and pieces of hockey. Report
My daughter has really gotten into curling since the Olympics started. She's always trying to find out when it's being televised. Report
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