Shining like that of a gold medal is aspiring Olympian, Korey Dropkin from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
At just 21-years-old, Dropkin is a member of the High Performance Program (HPP), an organization that selects curlers of different competitive levels to team up and train for success. The dream for many of these athletes is to go to the Olympics.
A native of Boston, Dropkin’s parents introduced him to curling when he was five-years-old.
“I remember falling in love with the sport,” Dropkin said.
Curling is a sport in which two teams of four players slide 40-pound stones down a sheet of ice toward a target at the other end. Each team tries to get more of its stones closer to the center of the target than the other team.
“I knew that if I wanted to pursue curling, I should look into colleges in Minnesota. That is how I ended up at UMD,” Dropkin said.
While attending UMD, Dropkin has been hard at work,training and curling, with his sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
“Success comes from hard work and determination,” Dropkin said.
Dropkin’s world level experience began when he led Team USA in the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. There, he won a bronze medal in the Mixed Doubles event.
Dropkin went on to compete at the 2012 and 2013 Junior Worlds as US Junior National Champion. He was also a member of Team USA at the 2013 Winter World University Games held in Trentino, Italy, where his team took fifth place.
In 2015, Dropkin was a Mixed Doubles National Champion. He went on to receive sixth place in the Men’s National Championships in 2015 and fourth place in the Men’s National Championships in 2016. Later that year, Dropkin became a World Junior Silver Medalist.
To add to his list of accomplishments, Dropkin was named USA Curling Athlete of the Year in both 2012 and 2016 by the United States Curling Association.
“I felt both grateful and honored to be selected as the recipient of this award,” Dropkin said.
Today, Dropkin competes on a team with Heath McCormick, Chris Plys and Tom Howell. They recently participated in the World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling, a tournament held annually between teams from North America and the rest of the world.
Team McCormick joined North America in winning their fifth annual Continental Cup of Curling.
“My God,” Dropkin said. “It was one of the coolest moments I’ve experienced in curling. it was electric.”
Team North America won $52,000 ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the World team earned $26,000 ($1,000 per member, including captain and coach). Team North America also received a $13,000 bonus ($500 per player, plus captain and coach) for taking the most points out of the six skins games.
According to USA Curling, total attendance for the four day event was 52,753, the second highest attended curling event in U.S. history after last year’s record of 62,498.
Perhaps someday soon, a gold medal will be added to Dropkin’s list of accomplishments. Until then, he will have to curl his way to the podium.