For U.S. curling skip Nina Roth, there’s more to life than just curling.
Curling is a huge part of her life – she grew up watching her dad curl and has been playing since she was 10 – but off the ice, Roth works as an acute care nurse, giving long-term patient care, helping patients recover from life-changing injuries.
Roth, 29, told reporters in PyeongChang that her job can be intense and emotional, but she’s passionate about her work. As a nurse, she has gained a unique appreciation for how much her good physical health has afforded her.
The Wisconsin native also operates under pressure on a daily basis at work – a skill that transfers nicely to Olympic competition. Having such a fulfilling job has also lessened the stress she feels on the ice. Although winning is always the goal, there is a life outside the curling arena.
"While I'm still chasing the dream, I always knew that I'd be OK if we didn't win the trials, and the same here, because I still have a positive career, a family life, and that's allowed me to just let loose on the ice."
Much like nursing, curling at the Olympic level can be intense and emotional, requiring nothing short of total passion. As the skip, Roth serves as captain, leading the team strategically and throwing the last stone.
At the last few Winter Games, the U.S. women’s curling team has come up short, finishing at the bottom of round-robin play in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014. This year, the U.S. women are edging up to the middle of the pack in the round-robin phase, sitting on a 2-3 record above tournament favorites Canada (1-3).
Regardless of the outcome, after the Closing Ceremony brings an end to the PyeongChang Games, Roth will make her way home and get back to her patients.
"I wouldn't be the same person if I didn't have curling, and I wouldn't be the same athlete if I didn't have nursing to go back to."