Featured Athlete: Derek Oryniak

At only 17 years of age, Derek Oryniak has reached some lofty curling heights – but for this outstanding junior athlete, there’s clearly more to come.

Derek Oryniak (Photo courtesy D. Oryniak)

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Derek curls out of the West Kildonan Curling Club. His achievements include an impressive variety of local, provincial and national competition: 13-and-under Provincial Youth runner-up; 14-and-under Manitoba Curling Association Youth Christmas Spiel Champion; Manitoba Junior Curling Tour event champion; bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games, representing Manitoba; Optimist 18-and-under World Championship Manitoba champion; and four-time East St. Paul junior club champion. As if that isn’t enough, Derek is currently preparing to tackle the challenge of international competition. He’ll be representing Canada at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, this January, along with fellow junior curlers Thomas Scoffin, Corryn Brown and Emily Gray. Away from the curling rink, Derek can be found leading the Winnipeg high school hockey league in assists – he was 18th in points – or competing in the Manitoba provincial high school badminton championship, where he finished in second place. He also placed 102nd, with an impressive time of 1:35:13, in the Manitoba Half Marathon. On top of all that, he still finds time to volunteer at East St. Paul Little Rocks clinics, sharing his enthusiasm with the youngest curlers just starting out in in the sport. Birthplace:   Winnipeg, Manitoba Hometown:   Winnipeg, Manitoba Curling Club:  West Kildonan Curling Club Current Team:  Youth Olympic Team Canada Position:  Second Delivery:  Right Nickname:  “D” Quick Hits with Derek Oryniak Do you have any superstitions? Ever since I was a little kid I have watched for planes in the air on my way to the club. I used to think that whenever I saw one, I would play really well. Also, I always wear my gloves in my back pockets when I throw. Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party. Albert Einstein, Barack Obama, and Rory Mcilroy If you could be a star in any other sport, what would it be, and why? Golf, because you get to travel the world and get paid to play golf on beautiful courses – and the weather is always great. Unlike Winnipeg. If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why? Not too sure. Seems like a pretty good sport to me! What music do you like to listen to before a game? I like to start off with some Eminem or some rap to get me pumped up when I warm up, and then something a little more calm like The Script or Kings of Leon to calm me down and get me focused before I go on. Favourite: … Website?  Facebook and NFL.com for fantasy football … Order from Tim Hortons?  12-grain bagel toasted with butter and a large double double … Vacation destination?  Varadaro Cuba! … Junk food? Sweet chili heat Doritos Do you have any pet peeves? People that wear gangster hats while curling! Three things you always travel with? iPod, a pair of running shoes, deck of cards First thing on your Bucket List? The first thing on my bucket list would be to climb Mount Everest. I want to be on the top of the world. Favourite pastime between draws at ‘spiels? Playing ping pong and Natiz zombies (Call of Duty) with my team One thing most people don’t know about you? One thing people don`t know about me is that I watch a ridiculous amount of Discovery Channel. What is the biggest misconception about curlers? That they don’t work out. Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal? Draw to the pin.