GANGNEUNG, South Korea — About a week in the past, the U.S. males’s curling workforce was useless on the ice sheet. A 5-eight loss to Norway in spherical-robin play left the U.S. with a 2-four file and three principally should-win matches to go. U.S. skip John Shuster, pondering he had authored one more Olympic implosion, walked with his household via the Olympic Park whereas his spouse tried to persuade him not to surrender.
Eventually he sat down in the grass, appeared round him and thought, “This is silly. This is the Olympics. I feel like I’m getting my heart broken by this sport, and it’s just silly.” He says he went to mattress that evening and awoke the following morning and noticed the story of U.S. speedskater Dan Jansen, who endured years of shock defeats in the Olympics solely to win the ultimate Olympic race of his profession.
From then on, Shuster and his workforce (“Team Reject,” as Shuster jokingly referred to as them, referencing their exclusion from USA Curling’s High Performance Program after a disappointing exhibiting at Sochi) of Tyler George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner received 5 straight, culminating in right this moment’s stunning victory over high-ranked Sweden to provide the U.S. its second-ever medal in curling, its first since incomes bronze on the 2006 Turin video games and its first gold medal in the game.
A big and loud U.S. contingent gave the world a house-recreation really feel. Near the conclusion of the second finish, Ivanka Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders entered the curling heart, and members of the U.S. gold-medal-profitable girls’s hockey workforce had been in attendance as effectively.
The all-round play in the match was wonderful, with each side making tough pictures to repeated oohs and aahs from the group. It was a delicately poised contest all through, with neither facet holding something greater than a two-level lead till the eighth finish, when an aggressive and poised double-takeout shot by Shuster cleared out the Swedish stones in the home and earned the U.S. a 5-level finish — the second-highest in Olympic gold-medal-match history.
The 10-5 lead proved insurmountable with solely two ends remaining.
“I was happy to make that last shot for all of these guys and all the shots they made throughout the game and throughout this week,” Shuster stated, lavishing reward on his compatriots. Later, he continued, “I’ll never stop thanking these guys for what they did for me as teammates and as friends.”
Sweden’s skip, Niklas Edin, is among the greatest curlers in the world. In 2013, he grew to become the primary man to guide a workforce to victory in European and World championships in the identical season, and he and his squad had a file of eight-2 coming into the gold-medal recreation. But right this moment, each time he performed a exact takeout or mild draw, Shuster would reply on the next finish.
And in the eighth, Shuster had the final phrase. Edin stated that he knew it was over then, and that he and his workforce solely continued to play in the ninth and into the 10th to calm themselves down. They conceded with two stones remaining in the match.
Afterward, Edin was keen to have a giggle, however he was clearly nonetheless smarting from the upset. “They had nothing to lose, and we had everything to lose,” he stated. “Over the day, they played better than us, but over the whole tournament, I thought we were the way stronger team.”
For Shuster, the failures which have dogged his apparent expertise are wiped away. There’s no have to hedge now; he is the best roller in U.S. history.
“Since the day the 2014 Olympics came to an end, every moment was with this journey in mind,” stated Shuster.
Vice-skip Tyler George, rising emotional, stated of Shuster’s vindication: “I’m happy for John. He never has to make a shot again in his life to love the game.”