John Shuster

John Shuster’s rink dominates to win U.S. Olympic Curling Trials

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Curling games can take more than three hours. John Shuster‘s rink finished off Pete Fenson‘s rink in under 90 minutes at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday.

Fenson conceded the third game in a best-of-three championship series after falling behind 11-1 after four of 10 regulation ends in Fargo, N.D., shaking hands with Shuster to end it early.

Shuster’s rink will now head to an international Olympic qualifier in December with hopes of earning the U.S. and his rink a spot in Sochi.

How surprising was the blowout?

“A little bit, but we decided today that we weren’t going to let these guys get comfortable on the ice,” Shuster said on NBCSN. “We were going to come after them right away and see if we couldn’t conjure up something big and get a big lead.”

Shuster had scored five points in the third end to take a commanding 7-1 lead, and then four more in the fourth to take an all-but-insurmountable edge not even halfway through.

It was a stunning one-sided game after the first two between the rinks were tied after regulation on Friday and Saturday and went 11 ends. Shuster won the opener 9-8. Fenson forced a third game with a 5-4 win Saturday.

It’s notable that Fenson rallied from 8-3 down after seven ends on Friday. He must have believed that a 10-point deficit with three more ends to make it up than Friday was too much.

“At that point in the game, it wasn’t all that difficult,” Fenson said, according to USA Today. “We were so far behind that was really no catching up anyway.”

Shuster won the trials, but his rink is not guaranteed an Olympic berth.

The next step is what’s called the Olympic Qualification Event from Dec. 10-15 in Füssen, Germany, because the U.S. did not qualify for Sochi via results at the last two World Championships.

The top two from the Olympic Qualification Event will earn the final spots at the Olympics.

The U.S. is favored to take one of those two spots given it’s the highest-ranked nation in the Olympic Qualification Event field (eighth overall) and has qualified into every Olympic curling tournament since the sport returned to the Games in 1998.

Shuster called it a “B qualifier.”

“We’ve played against pretty much all the teams that are there, and we’ve had a lot of success against them,” Shuster said. “We’re going to celebrate this tonight, but go back to work, like they say, tomorrow.”

Fenson, 45, skipped the U.S. rink that won bronze at the 2006 Olympics. Shuster was also on that rink and then led his own rink to the 2010 Olympics, where he was briefly benched after a poor start.

Shuster, 31, is the manager of Pickwick Restaurant & Pub in Duluth, Minn. His vice skip is Jeff Isaacson, 30, a science teacher from Gilbert, Minn., who was also on the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team that was knocked out in round-robin play.

The last two members of the team will be Olympic rookies, should they qualify. Second Jared Zezel, 22, is a Bemidji State student and a relative of the late NHL player Peter Zezel.

Lead John Landsteiner, 23, is an engineer from Duluth.

“There’s not a weak spot on our team,” Shuster said. “Every single one of these guys is one of the best in the world at each position, respectively.”

All-Star team of U.S. curling wins women’s trials

Canadian Olympic Committee president quits amid sexual harassment inquiry

Marcel Aubut
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MONTREAL (AP) — Marcel Aubut has resigned as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee while under investigation for a sexual harassment complaint.

The committee said in a statement Saturday its investigation now ends. Since the original complaint, two other women made allegations against Aubut.

The committee calls the matter “deeply concerning,” saying it has had a “profound impact on our Olympic family.” The committee adds that its board will begin the process of appointing an interim president in the coming days.

Aubut already had temporarily stepped aside as committee president and chairman of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. The committee had retained a former chief justice of the Quebec Superior Court to investigate the initial complaint.

The 67-year-old Aubut was CEO of the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques until the team moved to Colorado in 1995. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

MORE CANADA: Canada’s return to Olympic basketball on hold after heartbreaking loss

China becomes ninth team in Olympic men’s basketball field

Yi Jianlian
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China is set to play in its ninth straight Olympic men’s basketball tournament after beating the Philippines 78-67 in the FIBA Asia Championship on Saturday.

The Chinese were guided by former NBA power forward Yi Jianlian, a three-time Olympian who led the team in scoring and rebounding at the last Olympics. Yi scored 11 points with 15 rebounds Saturday.

Yi and company kept the Philippines, with former NBA forward Andray Blatche, from qualifying for the Olympics for the first time since 1972. Blatche scored a team-leading 17 points.

China went 0-5 at London 2012, failing to win a game at an Olympics for the first time since 1992. Now-retired Yao Ming led the team in 2000, 2004 and 2008, but the nation has never reached the Olympic semifinals.

The 2016 Olympic men’s basketball field:

Brazil — Host nation
U.S. — 2014 World champion
Australia — Oceania champion
Nigeria — Africa champion
Argentina — Americas finalist
Venezuela — Americas finalist
Spain — Europe finalist
Lithuania — Europe finalist
China — Asia champion
Three winners of three July global, last-chance qualifying tournaments

The three last-chance qualifying tournament fields will be six nations each, including three to-be-named, wild-card nations, plus these 15 nations:

Serbia — 2014 World silver medalist
— 2014 World bronze medalist
Greece — last Olympics: 2008
Italy — last Olympics: 2004
Czech Republic — last Olympics: Never
Puerto Rico — last Olympics: 2004
Canada — last Olympics: 2000
Mexico — last Olympics: 1976
Iran — last Olympics: 2008
Japan — last Olympics: 1976
Philippines — last Olympics: 1972
Tunisia — only Olympic appearance was 2012
Angola — last Olympics: 2008
Senegal — last Olympics: 1980
New Zealand — last Olympics: 2004

MORE BASKETBALL: Lithuania is second European nation to make Rio hoops field