Detroit-area curling coach aims for Winter Games gold
DETROIT – US Olympic curling coach Mike Lazar is aiming for Winter Games gold.
“Our men’s team were the defending gold medal champions of Jung Chang and Korea. And so they feel pretty confident,” Lazar said. “Also, working with Tad Peterson’s team – and it’s a very highly ranked women’s team and just won a bronze medal at the World Championships – so everyone is playing really well. So we’re really excited about our chances here.
Lazar, 44, has competed in 13 national curling championships and has consistently placed in the top five. In 2006, he qualified for the Olympic trials.
Now he coaches all three US curling teams and at his very first Olympic Games.
“It’s one of your dreams as an athlete, now as a coach, to be part of this,” Lazar said. “It’s…breathtaking…just to see all the countries and realize that you are…on this world stage.”
Born and raised in Toledo, Lazar has many ties to Metro Detroit. He has been a member of the Detroit Curling Club for over a decade.
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Fun fact: The club hosted the first international event on the Detroit River, featuring curling teams from the Midwest and Ontario.
“It’s kind of an honor that we’re one of the oldest curling clubs and that we’re here at the Olympics,” Lazar said. “And that Midwestern hard work mentality, you know, let’s put our noses in the grindstone and work hard. It’s really exciting.
With days to go before the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, the scale of what lies ahead is sinking in for Lazar.
“(It’s) surreal, beautiful. To see how Beijing is preparing for the Olympics…we walked through the village today and how remarkable it is that the Olympic spirit runs through everything,” Lazar said. “It’s really exciting. It’s just such a big movement and it’s amazing that you’re a part of it.
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