In preparation for the 2019-2020 season, the World Curling Federation has been speaking to some of the world’s top athletes, finding out how they got involved with curling, who inspires them and what motivates them to get out onto the ice and be the best they can be.
In the fourth of the series, meet Japan’s Tetsuro Shimizu – Olympian and 2018 Pacific-Asia champion – who plays third with skip Yuta Matsumura, second Yasumasa Tanida and lead Shinya Abe.
From the last ten World Men’s Curling Championships, the 31-year-old has represented Japan on seven occasions – finishing fourth this year in Lethbridge, Canada. He’s also competed in ten Pacific-Asia Curling Championships, collecting gold medals in 2016 and 2018, six silver, and one bronze.
How did you begin playing curling and what motivates you to continue to play competitively?
My father was into curling. Also, curling facilities were created by the Nagano Olympics being held at my hometown, Karuizawa.
You played in your first Olympic Winter Games in 2018. What did you learn from that experience?
The Olympic Games are the best in the world and a big one that gives people courage, hope and makes them smile. I feel like I was able to be a part of that and have a great time.
What are your long-range goals?
I want to be a world champion and make curling more popular in Japan.
What is your greatest accomplishment or best memory – in life and in curling? Why?
Coming in fourth place at the 2016 world championships and being able to compete in the Olympics. The two are equally important to me because both were new to my curling life so far, it was a very happy event. With that said, I’m still a player and I want to get better results and experience.
What do you find difficult in curling and what did you learn from it?It was difficult to set up a living environment to continue curling – to have my workplace understand, living expenses, etc. However, I have been able to continue curling with the support and warmth of people around me. There were times when I was often anxious, but I think that I have been helped by many people.
I laugh very much
I like soccer
Always thinking about curling
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?I want to go to Hawaii! I am always traveling to a cold place to curl, I want to travel to a warm place. I would like to go to a hot spring if it is Japan.
Is curling popular in Japan? Describe the curling community in Japan?
In Japan, the popularity of curling has increased with each Olympics. After the PyeongChang Olympics, the women’s team won the bronze medals and there were more fans, and many wanted to actually start or experience curling.