The Eighth Page

Athletic Spotlight: Mongolian Curling Duo

This winter’s athlete spotlight is the Mongolian curling duo Baatarsaikhan Dorjpalam and Ghengis Bataaraaaarafalaa. This is their first time to come to the Olympic games and they are actually the very first representatives from Mongolia to participate in curling; a sport that has been unofficially dubbed by some people as the most physically grueling and mentally challenging ice-based game of them all. I was only able to speak to Baatarsaikhan, as Ghengis does not speak English. Q: Now tell me, how was it growing up as a curler in Mongolia? It was very unusual for Mongolian boys like us to start curling. Our friends, who were more concerned with playing traditional Mongolian sports such as “ice eating”, “horse carrying” and “smashing hard things”, constantly ridiculed us. However, Ghengis and I persevered. We are naturally gifted with specific talents that make us an unstoppable force in the curling world. I have always had an uncanny ability to slide rocks accurately over ice, and Ghengis was always great at scrubbing surfaces very hard with a broom-like object. Q: How has this entire Olympic experience been so far? It all must be very new for you. Well, yes. Unfortunately, we did miss the opening ceremony because we miscalculated how long it would take us to arrive in Canada. My steed Chiokanu rode fast and hard, but he got a splinter in one of his hooves, so that slowed us down. Also, riding a horse bareback across the Pacific ocean did not work out. Our shaman was wrong. He will be shamed upon our return. Q: And have you gotten to know the other competitors in the villa? No. Ghengis and I do not like them. We have already been made fun of plenty. Most people have clothing made from cotton or fancy material and seem astonished by our outfits. They act as if they have never seen a full buffalo pelt curling suit before. And the Chinese team did not take kindly to us breaking into their apartment. We cannot help our old habits. Q: How have you been preparing for the upcoming games? We have been consuming our government’s daily recommended amount of yak’s blood, ice chips melted to water and permafrost. We have also been exercising by smiting any rebellious Chinese that get in the way of our conquest… I mean, our curling. Q: Your government seems very supportive of your participation here. We have heard rumors that they had you in a training facility since you were eight. Is this the life you wanted to live? Oh, the Siberian Training facility. So many fond memories…the arctic temperatures…the rigorous exercise…the reoccurring beatings. Our government knows what is best for us. And this is just the beginning. After we win the Olympics, the tides will turn. A new power will reign over northeastern Asia, and eventually the world! Hail to the great Khan! Unfortunately, Baatarsaikhan and his teammate were disqualified in their first game against the Norwegians for sacrificing a live emu on the ice, so their plans of global domination will have to wait until 2014. The pair is seeded 85th in the consolation bracket, and will be battling the Swedish all-star duo Franz and Gunter for their second game. Catch it tomorrow night at the convenient time of 4:30 am, 3:30 am central time. -Colton Dempsey