5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT...MARION ROLLAND
by Michael Mastarciyan
If the World Cup ever morphs into a bloodsport that allows racers to arm themselves in a fight-to-the-death type competition (I'm thinking Hunger Games on skis here) - you probably won't go wrong if you lay your bets on France's Marion Rolland.
Ms. Rolland, it appears, knows how to get her Katniss Everdeen on when she's got a bow and arrow in hand - albeit in a much less aggressive and deadly manner.
Rolland, it seems, is also a bit of a - dare I say it - comic book geek - when she's not tearing down icy mountains at breakneck speeds in a most un-geekly fashion.
With two speed podiums in two days at World Cup Finals in Schladming last March - Rolland is busy trying to dial it in again for the upcoming World Championships at that very same ski racing locale.
I caught up with Ro-Ro, as her friends call her, for a quick chat recently and she shed some light on some pretty neat things about her life I didn’t have a clue about....here’s five of them....
1. Ro-Ro is pretty handy with a bow and arrow, and maybe golf clubs too, in the near future....
“I’m not a Sagitarrius, I’m a Libra, but that doesn’t stop me from being very comfortable with a bow and arrow! I don’t do it as much as I used to when I was younger, but I still consider it a huge passion of mine. A friend of mine who had a special bow, that was kind of like a hunting bow, got me into it years ago. He let me try it and I really loved it. I got my own bow and arrow kit for Christmas soon after and we’d go and have archery sessions all the time. Without going into details (she laughs), let’s just say I can hit targets very effectively, fixed or moving. Archery is kind of what golf is like for other skiers. It’s a good way to relax and think of other things.”
“Speaking of golf, I’m not very good, and I don’t have a ton of time to play, but I’ve taken it up and really like it. I haven’t taken lessons yet, so I’m learning by imitation right now. I’m trying to get better little by little. An old ski buddy of mine who used to race slalom on our national team, Stephane Tissot, is now a golf instructor, and I’m hoping to grab a few swing lessons from him at some point. I really like golf as a sport because you’re outside, often in gorgeous surroundings, you get to walk, swing some clubs, and clear your head at the same time.”
2. Ro-Ro loves cartoons...and is a bit of a Bandes Dessinees fangirl...
“I’ve love cartoons. I’ve always loved cartoons. Disney cartoons when I was little, stuff like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Lion King, I’ve seen them all at least 500 times each! More recently I saw the film Despicable Me and fell in love with the adorable little minions (the little yellow characters who work for the so-called ‘super-villain” Gru - take a close look at Ro-Ro’s current race helmet for a more accurate description).”
“I’ve also always loved Mickey Mouse too, but his voice has always irritated me immensely! Still, I’d always get “Journal de Mickey” a little weekly comic book about Mickey, Donald and the other Disney characters. A little prize would always come with the comic and I remember loving that stuff as a kid.”
“Nowadays, I’m a big fan of Bandes Dessinees (Editor’s note: bandes dessinees are like comic books on steroids - bigger in size, with hardcovers and are hyper-popular in France and Belgium). I’ve always loved to draw and I don’t have a ton of artistic talent, but I’ve always appreciated and loved the art of the Bandes Dessinees and comic books. Batman, Superman all the big superheros, I love that stuff. I also have almost every Asterix comic ever printed and a lot of Tintin and some Lucky Luke too. These days though, I’m more into Bandes Dessinees and I don’t buy comics very often. I have to admit I spend a lot of money on BD’s and they’re very addicting. When you start a reading a BD series, it’s hard to stop. It’s an expensive pursuit (she laughs) the BDs I buy these days are 10-15 Euros each and I have hundreds of them, it adds up fast!”
“I don’t really travel with my BD’s. I’m a bit of a collector and I like to keep them in good shape so taking with me during ski season is not a good idea. I’m more inclined to keep them at home and read them on the balcony or terrace with a cup of tea in the sunshine - or even in the bathtub - I love to read BDs in the bathtub!”
“My favourite BDs these days are Lanfeust of Troy, Trolls of Troy, Sky Doll and Sillage”
3. Ro-Ro can live on crepes alone... if she had too....
“I could nourish myself exclusively on crepes if I had too because they’re easy to make, and you can make them sweet or savoury in a million different ways. My favourite crepe is one my dad used to make for me when I was little. The recipe is fairly simple too. Melt a little butter in the crepe, cut a banana into thin slices, put the banana slices onto one half of the crepe, put Nesquik chocolate powder on top of the bananas and close it up. The butter and bananas melt the chocolate powder and it’s perfect. Savoury crepes are great too, some smoked salmon with some creme fraiche and a little lemon, poof c’est parfait!”
4. Ro-Ro loves reality TV...as long as it’s about animals on National Geographic’s Wild Channel...
“I’ve always loved wildlife films and television programs since I was little. Lions on the savannah, undersea shows about sharks and fish. I think deep inside, I have the soul of an adventurer. I could spend days watching wildlife documentaries on National Geographic’s Wild Channel if I had the time to spare. I’m a big fan of Brady Barr who is the host of the show Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr. Brady Barr is a herpetologist who works with amphibious creatures and reptiles. I love the guy because he’s completly nuts! He catches snakes barehanded, he had half his thigh practically bitten off by a 4-metre long giant python while in a cave full of bats. He jumps on the backs of crocodiles to study them. He’s always up to something incredible and it’s really fun to watch.”
5. Ro-Ro is really into Chinese caligraphy...
“My godmather has been living in China for more than ten years and she got me into Chinese caligraphy. Chinese culture has always been facinating to me and she bought me a caligraphy kit and I’ve really gotten into it. The kit she got me is the kind they use in Chinese schools - rice paper, ink you make yourself by grinding it in a little rock, real brushes made from animal hair. I started off by simply trying to copy what I saw in books she brought me back from China. Then, one day I bought a book with pictures and letters with translations into French, and since then I’ve really started to figure the whole process out. It’s a really relaxing hobby, I try to do it when I have a little down time. I can spend a whole afternoon doing it without having an exact plan for what I’m going to put down on paper, it’s the process I find very calming, the end product is less important.”
“I’d love to visit China someday. My godmother lives there and she’s always telling me I have to go out for a little holiday. The problem is I never have the time because of my ski schedule, I’d have to go for at least three weeks to make the trip worthwhile, and unfortunately three weeks is not possible right now. But one day in the future I’ll go, that’s for sure.”