Like so many viewers of this year’s Winter Olympics, Momofuku chef and restaurateur David Chang is fascinated by curling while knowing absolutely nothing about the sport. Chang took over Monday’s episode of The Podium, Vox Media’s daily Olympics podcast, in an attempt to gain some knowledge.
Is curling sort of like shuffleboard on ice? Is drinking involved? Could anyone be an Olympian if they took up curling? These are the questions gnawing at Chang, who is in Pyeongchang serving as a special corespondent for NBC. To get the answers, he consults with NBC analyst Kevin Martin, who led Canada to curling gold at the 2010 games in Vancouver.
“Another thing that I thought would make curling more popular for my group of friends would be, like, drinking,” Chang tells Martin during the episode. “I would imagine that the history of this game — and I could be totally wrong — involved prodigious amounts of alcohol. Is it even remotely close to saying that’s true?”
Chang learns that, no, getting hammered before and during a curling match is not a good idea. Mixing inebriation and a sport played on slippery ice is an excellent recipe for some nasty falls, obviously. Martin also explains why, from a spectator’s perspective, televised curling is much better than watching it live: All competitors and coaches on the ice are mic’d up.
“So you hear every conversation amongst the entire team: strategy, thoughts, frustration, anger, happiness, everything,” Martin says. “And you hear it, right through your television set, so it’s an awesome game to watch on TV.”
Chang isn’t planning on becoming some sort of curling fanatic, but he would like to take time at these Olympics to come to have an appreciation for the sport, as he did for cricket when he opened Momofuku Seiōbo in Sydney, Australia.
“Every curling match is like a snowflake,” Chang has learned. “So, if you play one match, it doesn’t mean that you’ll ever get the same result ever again. I think that kind of constantly changing variables make curling something that can be super fascinating.”
Listen to the full episode via the podcast player below.
• NBC Sports Group And Vox Media Team Up To Produce Daily Olympics Podcast -- The Podium [Vox Media]
• Listen to ‘The Podium,’ a podcast from NBC Olympics and Vox Media [NBC]
• All 2018 Winter Olympics Coverage [E]