This week’s male Athlete of the Week is Jake Walker of Haliburton, Ontario.
Birthdate: March 14, 1989
Birthplace: Peterborough, Ontario
Hometown: Haliburton, Ontario
Curling Club: Westmount Golf and Country Club
Current Team: Team Jake Walker
Getting to Know Jake Walker
Meet the next generation of Canadian men’s curling.
Jake Walker is beginning his first full season in men’s curling after capping a splendid junior career last season by claiming the gold medal at the M and M Meat Shops Canadian junior men’s championship in Sorel-Tracy, Que., and then going onto capture a bronze medal at the world juniors in Flims, Switzerland, with teammates third Craig Van Ymeren, second Geoff Chambers and lead Matt Mapletoft, along with coach John Thompson.
It was worth the wait for Walker, who’d lost provincial junior finals the previous two seasons before finally getting over the hump last season.
But he’d certainly put in his time, both in competition and behind the scenes.
In addition to various regional titles he’s claimed over the years, Walker has also worked to build the sport of curling. Five years ago, he coached an elementary school team preparing for the Tim Hortons Timbits elemantary championships, and also worked as an assistant coach at national coach Jim Waite’s Trillium Curling Camp in Guelph, Ontario (Walker is a Level 1 certified coach).
And now, as a Canadian junior champ and a world medallist, he’s hit the banquet trail, and spoken at fundraiser for his hometown Haliburton Curling Club and at the Trillium camp.
Away from the rink, Walker has enjoyed similar success; he was runner-up as malte athlete of the year in 2008 at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, and currently, he’s studying electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo.
Quick Hits with Jake Walker
Do you have any superstitions?
“Last year, starting at the junior mens playdowns, I would always wear the same pair of argyle socks for every game in each section of the competition.”
Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party.
“Dean Blundell, Jason Barr and Todd Shapiro. They do one heck of a radio show, so I’m sure they would make a dinner party very, very interesting.”
If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why?
“Hockey. I sure would love to hoist the Stanley Cup. And, hey, who doesn’t like getting their teeth knocked out!”
If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?
“I would like to be given one two-minute time out per game, and leave in place the other one-minute timeout. This would give you a little extra time to think about any one certain situation. But, obviously you would have to choose wisely when to use the two-minute timeout, because you only get one.”
What music do you like to listen to before a game?
“This usually changes depending on how I’m feeling, but usually a mix of something repetitive to help me focus and get pumped up such as Chemical Brothers or Mutemath, for example.”
— Website? “www.Ted.com”
— Order from Tim Hortons? “Cheddar cheese bagel, toasted with butter.”
— Vacation destination? “Theoretically somewhere hot. (I’ve never actually been on a vacation).”
— Junk food? “Terry’s Chocolate Orange.”
Do you have any pet peeves?
“I can’t stand it when people use their windshield wipers when they don’t need to.”
Three things you always travel with?
“iPod, a hat and a toothbrush.”
First thing on your Bucket List?
“Sky diving; get my pilot licence; and give a complete stranger $59.87 in just dimes . . . and seven pennies, obviously.”
Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels?
One thing most people don’t know about you?
“I can’t see the colour blue.”
What is the biggest misconception about curlers?
“That curling isn’t expensive.”
Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal:
“Draw around cover or through a port to get to the button.”