Name: Kim Kong, but I go by KiKo
Year you started roller derby: I went through Fresh Meat in Fall of 2015, 2016 was my first bouting season
Where are you from originally? That’s a complicated question. I moved around a fair bit.. Like where was I from originally? Georgia. Where have I spent the most time??? Michigan. Though I still say I’m from GA
Name a fun little known fact about you: I once climbed the Empire State Building
How did you get involved with roller derby? I had a fascination with the thought of roller derby since I had seen the movie Whip It in high school. Though watching it now, Hollywood made a lot of errors when it came to the sport. When I moved back to the area and found out that there was now a Roller Derby team, I was excited and nervous. When I found out that I already knew people on the team it kind of took away most of my excuses not to join. And I have been in love ever since.
How did you pick your name? After climbing the Empire State building, its what people started calling me. Just kidding. I actually didn’t pick it. I was working at a bank at the time, and when my boss found out I was joining derby, he sent out an email to the office asking for name suggestions. It was kind of like a game. And Kim Kong was the strongest contender. I feel like I have had to grow to fill such a powerful name, and make it my own.
What is your pre-derby sports/skating background? Before Derby I only did rollerblading sometimes. I remember going to roller rinks when younger and hating the skates with the breaks in the front (quad skates with toe stops) because I would always trip over them and fall. I also grew up horse back riding. About a year before derby I got into lifting, which I feel has helped me alot.
Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby? Now I got to think back… hmm. I feel I had a good freshie year. I completed Fresh Meat 5.0 in the fall for 2015. My first bout ever was an away bout. I was shocked and honored to receive MVP blocker for this game. The rest of the season was exciting for me and kinda scary since everything was still so new. I gave myself my greatest derby bruise to date when I landed on my own skate. It was a beautiful blackish purple bruise on the back of my thigh.
Do you have a pre-game ritual? Lots and lots of water. I make sure I eat, but not too close to the bout, don’t want to be that person who gets hit and pukes on the track. I tend to get really hyper and can’t sit still, not sure if its excitement/nerves or the copious amounts of coffee I have been chugging all morning during setup.
What is your position of choice? Blocker but I’m developing an interest in Jamming… maybe.
How would you describe your derby playing style? Beast like.
What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track? Winning MVP Blocker my first bout. Getting some solid hits in. And the fact that I jammed during a couple bouts last year.
Have you held any leadership positions in leagues? How have those positively impacted your personal roller derby career? For a season I was a treasurer. I think it has positively impacted my derby career by the fact of knowing each job is important to the league, and its important to offer to help and ask for help.
What is your job outside of roller derby? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby? I work for Michigan Tech. I would say it has given me new people to expose derby to who would never have thought about going to watch a game.
What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby? Talk to the players. They are most likely going to tell you to come try! We love answering questions, and are super supportive of anyone who wants to come try it out.
And lastly, favorite places in the Keweenaw? On a beach watching a summer sunset.