This week’s male Athlete of the Week is Maxime Elmaleh of Quebec City, Quebec.
Birthdate: May 5, 1969
Birthplace: Quebec City
Hometown: Quebec City
Curling Club: Etchemin C.C. Levis
Current Team: Team Performance Brush, skip Martin Ferland
Getting to know Maxime Elmaleh
For far too long, getting the chance to wear a Purple Heart at the Tim Hortons Brier was about as much as a curler from Quebec could aspire to; winning the Brier, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since Jim Ursel in 1977 at the Olympic Velodrome in Montreal, seemed nearly out of reach.
But on a wintery March 2006 evening in Regina at the Agridome, Maxime Elmaleh and his Quebec teammates changed all that.
Throwing lead rocks for Jean-Michel Ménard, Elmaleh had the best seat in the house as Quebec pulled off one of the biggest wins in that province’s curling history, beating heavily favoured Glenn Howard of Ontario in the Brier championship game.
It was Elmahleh’s fourth crack at the Brier; his previous best result had come in 2000 as the vice-skip for François Roberge in Saskatoon, where Quebec lost in the semifinal to bring home a bronze medal.
He made return trips to the Brier in 2002 in Calgary with the same Roberge team, and then made the playoffs in 2005 at Edmonton with the Ménard foursome.
Elmaleh got his first taste of national-level competition back in 1987 when he curled for Team Quebec at the Canada Winter Games in Cape Breton, N.S.
More than two decades later, he’s still chasing Purple Hearts — these days with the Team Performance Brush quartet skipped by Martin Ferland and rounded out by Roberge at vice-skip and Shawn Fowler at second.
Elmaleh keeps in shape for the curling season by running, and last year, at the age of 40, he completed a half-marathon.
Quick Hits with Maxime Elmaleh
Do you have any superstitions?
Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party.
“Barack Obama, Neil Armstrong and Nolan Ryan.”
If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why?
“Baseball, tennis and chess!”
If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?
“Allow 75 minutes instead of 73 to play a game.”
What music do you like to listen to before a game?
“Green Day’s song ‘When I Come Around.’ ”
— Website? “www.yahoo.ca.”
— Order from Tim Hortons? “Chili and whole-wheat bread.”
— Vacation destination? “San Francisco.”
— Junk food? “No, I’m a healthy guy.”
Three things you always travel with?
“MP3 player, computer and cell phone.”
Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels?
“Running, training and playing Rock Band.”
One thing most people don’t know about you?
“I’m a lobster fan!”
What is the biggest misconception about curlers?
“That curlers do not need to be in good shape, like other athletes.”
Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal:
“An open draw to the four-foot!”