Olympic Gold Medal Series featuring Joe Polo

By Suzanna Viau | Nov. 19, 2018, 3:55 p.m. (ET)

Second in the Gold Medal Q&A series is Team USA’s fantastic alternate Joe Polo. Joe began curling at the age of 10 in Bemidji, Minn. In addition to the gold he won in February, Joe has an Olympic bronze medal from the 2006 Olympics with Pete Fenson’s rink.

1. When did it finally sink in that you had won the gold medal? When was it finally real? 

At the closing ceremonies, we were sitting there after we went around the arena and sat up in our seats. We started watching the awards ceremony for cross country skiing. And they were receiving their medals and I was sitting next to Tyler George, our third, and just said, “You know what? That was us just a couple days ago” and it set in that it's pretty darn cool that we got to experience something very similar to that.

2. If a movie was made about the team and your Olympic journey who would play you? Who would play some of your teammates?

We’ve actually talked about this before. I've got some friends that think I kind of look like Brad Paisley. He's not really an actor. He's a singer. And then, there's been quite a few good ones thrown out there for Matt Hamilton. I think Nick Offerman was one of them.

3. If you could give your junior curling self any advice or knowledge, what would it be?

Just practice a ton. Go out – I did this a lot. I would go and throw as many rocks as I could and try to work on one thing and try to perfect that thing before you move on to something else. I know a lot of times younger curlers will just go out and just throw rocks to throw rocks and not really work on anything. And they may get better because of it. But, I know for sure you definitely get better by practicing one thing and only be working on one particular shot. When I practice that's what I'm going to go and spend that whole practice on it and make sure I get it to where I want it to be. And then I can move on to something else and feel like that is taken care of.

4. Do you have a pre- or post-game routine or meal?

No. Not really. On the road we eat a lot of pizza. Draws always go late into the night and we're always hungry after curling. So it’s pretty often that we’ll get a pizza at night. In the middle of the day between draws a lot of times it's just like a soup and sandwich or something nothing-too-crazy heavy.

5. If you could pick another Olympic sport (summer or winter) to compete in, what would it be and why?

I think I always say skeleton because it's seems like it'd be just a lot of fun to do – just lay there on the sled and just bomb down on the hill. But it also seems pretty scary. So I'm not sure if that would be my choice anymore. I might switch to short track speed skating or something. Those guys move so fast, get thrown around but they've got padding. So that's a lot safer than skeleton.

6. Who was your biggest inspiration throughout your curling career, and/or what kept you inspired on your journey to the podium?

It was a lot of internal inspiration. I think it was basically myself wanting to be the best or one of the best and I tried to push myself to do that. I don't know if there's any one person that really helped push me, but definitely I had mentors growing up and early into my curling career – Mark Haluptzok, Pete Fenson, Bob Fenson and Scott Baird from Bemidji. All those guys were really influential in me becoming a lot better curler.

Suzanna Viau is a junior curler from Wisconsin. Originally from Stevens Point, but now curling out of St Paul. She is a U18 National Championships bronze medalist and two-time Wisconsin State High School Champion.

Keep an eye out for the next installment featuring Matt Hamilton!