Let’s say you were a gold-medal winning athlete packing for China and the Winter Olympics … look I ain’t one either, but let’s just pretend for a second. What would be the most important things you’d want to bring from home?
I asked my buddy, Matthew Hamilton, who is probably the most famous curler in America today.
At the XXIII Winter Olympic Games aka PyeongChang 2018, Hamilton was half of the team who earned the United States its very first gold medal in curling.
After he qualified for the XXIV Olympic Games in Beijing, China, I texted my golfing buddy and fellow sneakerhead asking: “Hey man, what are the most important things you’re taking with you this trip? Because China ain’t got Wal-Mart or Target if you forget something!”
The following is what he sent me in reply.
“Some wild and crazy curling shoes! My guys at Project Blitz really hooked it up. They are the Nike SB Dunk Low ‘What the P-Rod.’ They are the perfect shoe for a guy like me!” — MH
Matt is a wild sneakerhead. Last Olympics he wore the Nike PG3 Nasa Blue Apollo 15 Mission editions specially modified for curling.
It only took Hamilton’s “guy” one day to modify this iteration for curling.
Hamilton is taking specialty coffee to China. The coffee pictured is from a local, gourmet coffee house in Duluth, Minnesota, where the skip of Hamilton’s curling team, John Schuster, lives.
“Coffee is a must for me. I gotta have my coffee and travel coffee maker! I love coffee, plus it’s a reminder of home.” — MH
‘Stache care is a must
The epic, push broom mustache has become Hamilton’s trademark look. At the 2018 Games, he drew comparisons to a mustachioed plumber by the name of Mario. So the ‘stache has to look right.
“Some gear to keep my mustache fresh and a shirt to promote the charity I’m working with! Stachestrong … 100% of donations go to grants and research funds.” — MH
Bringing the flat brims
“My hats that I’ll be competing in! I like a clean straight brim and these are as clean as they get.” — MH
Hot sauce in his bag
“HOT SAUCE!!!! I really love a little heat in my food and this is something I wish I had packed last Olympics.”
Follow up question (as a hot sauce lover), give me a go-to food for each sauce while you’re in China?
“Well the Sriracha goes on any Asian dish. The Frank’s goes on any classic American food. Burger, mac-n-cheese, etc.” — MH
“My headphones! I need my music. It helps me get into the zone before a game. And it’s something to do while I kick it between games.” — MH
“My Oak & Oscar watch. Multiple straps so I can switch up the look and keep it fresh.” — MH
“My uniforms! Columbia really went all out this year making sure we look super fly on the ice.” — MH
There’s magic in that hat
“My lucky hat! In the words of Michael Scott, ‘I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little ‘stitious.’ This goes to every event I play and goes in the back pocket.” — MH
Mystery care packages
Home is a long way from Beijing. So, take a little home with you.
“Care package from my wife!!! She makes sure I have something to look forward to each day. I’m a very lucky guy.”
I had to ask, the care packages from the wifey…are they a surprise or do you know what she put in them?
“Not a clue.” — MH
Bonus extra credit question
Is there anything you’re taking to China you wish you didn’t have to?
(There was about a 10 minute lull before I got this reply).
“Yeah. A ‘burner’ phone. We were warned about malware and getting hacked, so my personal phone won’t be used while I’m there.”
“That makes sense and sucks at the same time. Better safe than hacked,” I texted back.
“For sure.” — MH
And that was his last text to me before beginning the journey to try and win another gold medal.