Curling

Becca Hamilton, Matt Hamilton
AP

U.S. Olympic mixed doubles curling trials preview, TV schedule

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Siblings Matt and Becca Hamilton already qualified for the Olympics, but this week they’re getting greedy.

The Hamiltons are among eight teams in the U.S. Olympic Trials for mixed doubles curling, a new Olympic event.

Competition runs Wednesday through Sunday, with live games on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app starting Thursday from Blaine, Minn.

Of the 16 athletes in the field, seven made the traditional U.S. Olympic curling men’s or women’s teams at trials three weeks ago.

That includes the Hamiltons, who are the reigning U.S. champions in doubles. They edged 2016 World bronze medalists Joe Polo and Tabitha Peterson for the national title in March.

Polo and Peterson also made the traditional U.S. Olympic curling teams last month.

If either the Hamiltons or Polo and Peterson win the title in Blaine, they could compete almost every day of the Pyeongchang Olympics if they advance to playoffs. Canada opted not to allow its traditional curling team members to double up in mixed.

Mixed doubles starts the day before the Opening Ceremony and finishes before the traditional curling tournaments begin in Pyeongchang.

The sentimental favorite this week has to be the team of Jamie Sinclair and Korey Dropkin.

Sinclair skipped a team that lost the Olympic Trials finals to Nina Roth three weeks ago. Dropkin was on the team that lost the men’s final to John Shuster‘s rink.

Shuster and Roth are also competing this week with separate partners.

All eight teams will play each other in round-robin with the top four advancing to Saturday’s playoffs.

The top two teams play each other with the winner going to Sunday afternoon’s final. The third and fourth teams play each other with the winner playing the loser of the Nos. 1-2 game in a Sunday morning semifinal.

The winner of Sunday afternoon’s final is the Olympic team.

Mixed doubles games are eight ends with five stones for each team. Traditional curling is 10 ends with eight stones per team. One player throws the first and last rock of the end with the other throwing the three in between.

The full NBCSN broadcast schedule of matches (all times Eastern):

Thursday, 7 p.m.: Monica Walker-Jason Smith vs. Cory Christensen-John Shuster
Thursday, 9:15 p.m.: Nina Roth-Kroy Nernberger vs. Alex Carlson-Derrick McLean
Friday, 4 p.m.: Tabitha Peterson-Joe Polo vs. Vicky Persinger-Jared Zezel
Friday, 6:15 p.m.: Jamie Sinclair-Korey Dropkin vs. Becca Hamilton-Matt Hamilton
Saturday, 10 p.m.: Playoffs
Sunday, 4 p.m.: Final

A full schedule of games is here.

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VIDEO: Italian curlers go nuts after clutch shot qualifies for Olympics

Italian curler roars after hitting shot to qualify for Olympics (video)

Italy curling
World Curling
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Forgive Amos Mosaner for shouting, for he clinched Italy’s first Olympic curling qualification.

Mosaner’s double takeout in an extra end put Italy past Denmark 6-5 in the last-chance Olympic qualification tournament in Pilsen, Czech Republic, on Sunday.

He rushed down the ice after that last stone, tossed his broom aside, pumped his fist and roared into a group hug with teammates.

Skip Joël Retornaz returns to the Olympics after a 12-year absence. He skipped Italy’s team at the 2006 Olympics, where they earned an automatic berth as host nation.

“This has such a different taste,” the 34-year-old Retornaz said, according to World Curling. “Earning the right on the ice feels great. It feels like a dream for me.”

Denmark later did make the Olympic field as the last nation, beating the Czechs for the spot.

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MORE: List of Russia Olympic medals stripped; new Sochi medal standings

The Pyeongchang Olympic curling fields:

Men
Canada
Sweden
U.S.
Japan
Switzerland
Great Britain
Norway
Italy
Denmark
South Korea

Women
Canada
Russia
Switzerland
Great Britain
U.S.
Sweden
Japan
China
Denmark
South Korea

Mixed Doubles
China
Canada
Russia
U.S.
Switzerland
Norway
Finland
South Korea

First-time Olympians lead Canada curling teams for Pyeongchang

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The next challenge for Rachel Homan and Kevin Koe is to extend Canadian Olympic curling dominance by succeeding gold-medal teams that they helped dethrone at the Olympic Trials.

Team Homan and Team Koe emerged from one of the most difficult Olympic selection processes for any sport in any nation, winning the Roar of the Rings in Ottawa on Sunday.

Homan, whose team last season became the first to go undefeated at a world championship, beat Chelsea Carey‘s team 6-5 in the women’s final. Carey had gone unbeaten in round-robin play, including an 8-4 win over Homan in the opener.

But Homan won her last nine games, including back-to-back victories over Sochi Olympic champion Jennifer Jones‘ team, eliminating Jones and Co. in Saturday’s semifinal.

Homan, 28 and ranked No. 3 in the world, can become the youngest female skip to win an Olympic title since women’s curling debut at the Winter Games in 1998.

Canada has earned a medal in every Olympic women’s tournament, and Homan is now the youngest Olympic female skip in history.

Koe will make his Olympic debut at age 43 after beating Mike McEwen‘s team 7-6 in Sunday night’s final.

Koe’s team won their first seven games in round-robin play, including beating Sochi gold medalist Brad Jacobs, to earn a bye into the final.

Koe lost to 2017 World champion Brad Gushue in the round-robin finale, but McEwen then knocked out Gushue in the semifinal.

Koe is seasoned, having won the 2010 and 2016 World titles, and is ranked fifth in the world (he outlasted three teams at trials that are ranked ahead of him). He was fourth and sixth at the previous two Olympic Trials.

Two members of Koe’s team — lead Ben Hebert and third Marc Kennedy — will try to become the first men to win two Olympic curling gold medals. Hebert and Kennedy took the 2010 Olympic title with Kevin Martin.

Canada’s Olympic curling team is not yet set.

The mixed doubles trials are Jan. 2-7 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The curlers who won Sunday cannot compete in the mixed doubles trials.

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MORE: List of Russia Olympic medals stripped; new Sochi medal standings