Australian acting skip Ian Palangio in action against Japan at the Asia and Pacific curling championships in Naseby. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Ian Palangio has been known as the "birthday boy" at the Asia
and Pacific curling championships since first representing
Australia 12 years ago.
He celebrated his 40th birthday in style in Naseby yesterday
when Australia beat Kazakhstan to win its second game at the
Palangio was one of Canada's elite curlers when he emigrated
to Australia 12 years ago. There are two million curlers in
"I played at a high level and was in a top-10 team," he said.
Palangio was a member of the Australian team that won the
Asia and Pacific championships in 2005 and 2006 and competed
at the world championships on four occasions from 2005-08.
He played a key role for the 2008 team that finished sixth at
the world championships.
The quality of ice is poor in Australia and the team travels
to Naseby and Dunedin to train.
"We don't play in Australia that much," Palangio said.
"When we are preparing to compete internationally we train
One of the favourite spots is Naseby.
"It's like a second home for us," Palangio said. "We come for
long weekends of four or five days. This is my third trip to
Naseby this year."
The lack of top-class ice at home means the Australians must
be inventive as they prepare for international events.
"We play mind games and throw unlimited rocks in our head by
using visualisation," Palangio said. "We can jump on the ice
from the plane and reach top form pretty quickly."
Palangio was living near Toronto 22 years ago when he
switched from ice hockey to curling.
"Like every kid in Canada I played ice hockey. I was just a
little guy and when I was a teenager it became full body
contact. It was getting a bit physical for me so I switched
He had a job offer with Microsoft and shifted to Sydney 12
years ago to work as an accounts manager.
He enjoys the mind games that are involved in curling.
"The amazing things about curling are the scenarios and the
strategy," Palangio said.
"It is like chess on ice.
"In chess you plan ahead for different moves. Curling is also
strategy-led but you also have to physically execute your
Palangio's goal is to help Australia finish in the top two at
the Asia and Pacific championships and qualify for the
Olympic Games in either 2014 or 2018.
"Ever since I started curling for Australia, the Olympics
have been my ultimate goal," he said.
"That dream is what keeps us going as we get a bit older."
A highlight of his career was to play the winning shot in the
semifinal against China in 2004 that qualified Australia to
compete at the 2005 world championships.
• Age: 40.
• Family: Wife Lisa, daughters aged 9 and 6.
• Residence: Sydney.
• Occupation: Accounts manager for Microsoft.
• Club: Sydney Harbour.
• Record: Represented Australia 2001-12 at Asia and Pacific;
world championships 2005-08.