Minnesotans Help US Men’s Curling Team Capture Gold at Winter Games
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — John Shuster’s last throw in the eighth end of the Olympic curling final clacked off one Swedish stone and knocked it into another, sending them both skittering out of scoring range.
Five yellow-handled American rocks were left behind.
The score, known as a five-ender, is so rare it has only been topped once before in the history of the men’s or women’s Olympic final. And it effectively clinched gold for Shuster’s erstwhile “rejects,” who rallied from the brink of pool play elimination to claim only the second curling medal ever for the United States.
Shuster was born in Chisholm, Minnesota and now lives in Superior, Wisc.The team also includes Duluth natives Tyler George, John Landsteiner, and Joe Polo.
“It’s hard to rationalize wanting to do it,” vice-skip Tyler George said after the Americans beat favored Sweden 10-7 in nine ends in the gold medal match on Saturday. “But then days like this happen.”
With the King of Sweden and Ivanka Trump looking on — and bolstered by social media messages from actor Mr. T., NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and speedskater Dan Jansen — Shuster skipped the Americans from a 2-4 record at the start of pool play to five wins in a row, starting with a victory over three-time defending Olympic champion Canada.
No U.S. curling team, men or women, had ever beaten Canada at the Winter Games.
Shuster’s team did it again in the semifinals.
That set up a gold medal match with Sweden, the world championship runner-up and top winner in pool play, including a 10-4 victory over the Americans on Feb. 16.