Courtesy of Red Bull
With tattoos and skateboarder chic, American curler adds a new dimension.
Bar the temperatures on the ice, curling is not synonymous with cool but American curler Chris Plys is attempting to rip up the copybook.
With his tattooed body and skateboarder chic, the 29-year-old is hoping his alternative look – at least in the sport itself – is helping to lure a new raft of curlers to the rink.
A former junior world champion and Olympian, Plys says people have approached him in the street to tell him they have tried the sport just because of him.
And his mantra is that, “it’s shown there’s no specific person you need to be”.
Plys took up curling in 1998 and, within 10 years, was crowned world champion in the junior ranks, which he marked with a tattoo of world champion written in Swedish across his chest.
Other tattoos include a bird riding a skateboard, which he agreed to after a few drinks in a bar.
And the colourful curler thinks his look reflects what he thinks of the sport: “I think curling is cool,” before admitting the wider jury is probably out on the matter.
In the five-minute film entitled Dedicate Throwing Rocks, Plys makes no secret of the fact that he plans to represent his country at next year’s Winter Olympics and, longer term, his aim is to “be able to put my stamp on the history of the sport”.
He is the first to admit his look is different – that his peers “don’t have a lot of ink on them” – but he gets treated like any competitor and says his approach to a match is like that of any competitor.
Of curling itself, he loves the “quiet and calm” and says it acts like a kind of therapy for him, “for those few moments nothing else is going on”.
But despite the often tranquil nature of it, come the Olympics or World Championships, he needs mental fortitude as “one mental mistake and the game is over”.