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Curler Matt Hamilton gets his own bobblehead

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The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is producing what it says is the first curling bobblehead, of U.S. Olympic champion Matt Hamilton.

Hamilton was part of skip John Shuster‘s team that earned surprise gold in PyeongChang, winning its last five games after a 2-4 start for the first U.S. Olympic title in the sport.

Hamilton also competed in the first Olympic mixed doubles tournament with sister Becca Hamilton.

The bobblehead, whose design hasn’t been finalized yet but is available for preorder here, is expected to ship in June.

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MORE: Top moments from Team USA’s run to curling gold

Paralympian, Olympic medalist light PyeongChang Paralympic cauldron (video)

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Skips of the South Korean wheelchair curling team and its Olympic silver-medal-winning women’s curling team lit the Paralympic cauldron together at the Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang on Friday night.

The Games run for 10 days through the Closing Ceremony on March 18.

Seo Soon-Seok and Kim Eun-Jung capped the final legs of the torch relay titled “Various Aspects of Coexistence” by organizers. They ignited the same cauldron that Yuna Kim lit to open the Olympics on Feb. 9 and was extinguished at the Feb. 25 Closing Ceremony.

Other torch bearers in the stadium included South and North Korean athletes carrying the flame together, as well as a South Korean biathlete with a Canadian coach, a South Korean athlete with his father and a visually impaired Alpine skier with her guide.

South Korean sled hockey player Han Min-Su attached his torch to his back and used a rope to climb the ramp toward the cauldron before handing off to the curlers.

“Everything starts with a dream,” new IPC president Andrew Parsons said in an earlier speech at the Olympic Stadium. “Great stories, great achievements, great drama. In a dream, anything is possible. Over the next 10 days, billions of people around the world will witness dreams becoming true here in PyeongChang.”

South and North Korea marched separately, unlike at the Olympics, where they entered the stadium together behind a unified flag. More on Thursday’s decision not to march together here.

Snowboarder Mike Schultz led the U.S. delegation, carrying the Stars and Stripes as part of the Parade of Nations. More on Schultz here.

Medal events begin with Alpine skiing and biathlon on Friday night on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on and the NBC Sports app.

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MORE: Paralympic TV, streaming schedule

U.S. gold-medal curling team misses nationals to promote the sport

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FARGO, N.D. (AP) — John Shuster‘s U.S. Olympic curling team had planned for a whirlwind couple of months in 2018, hoping to bounce from PyeongChang to the U.S. Championships in Fargo and then perhaps on to the world championship in Las Vegas.

Then they won a gold medal.

On Friday, the day before the start of the national tournament, Shuster’s team found themselves being chauffeured around the Big Apple after ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

It’s part of a celebrity tour that includes television appearances, a Sports Illustrated photo shoot, the ceremonial puck drop at an NHL game, an outdoor curling exhibition in Manhattan’s Bryant Park and even a cameo by Tyler George and Matt Hamilton in a Broadway play.

As a result, the team bowed out of the Fargo event. John Landsteiner said “it hurts a little bit” to miss his first national tournament in 12 years and a shot at worlds, but it’s tough to complain about the VIP treatment in New York.

“We keep kind of joking about it: ‘Well, we could be in Fargo right now,'” Landsteiner said, chuckling.

Rick Patzke, the CEO of USA Curling who is accompanying the group in New York, said the team is handling its newfound fame well, knowing that it’s the best chance any U.S. curling team has had to promote the game that has seen steady growth since it became an Olympic medal sport in 1998.

“They kind of wake up and say, “Where do we go today?’ It’s kind of like ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ times a thousand,” Patzke said.

Said Landsteiner, “It all feels pretty cool to a bunch of small-town guys from Minnesota.”

Patzke said Shuster’s team is still hoping to make an appearance in Fargo, although that could be nixed by a West Coast media tour.

“If we can have a plane change in Fargo, that would be great,” he said.

The national tournament at Scheels Arena in Fargo kicks off with the opening ceremony Saturday and ends with the men’s and women’s championships March 10.

While fans may be disappointed that Team Shuster isn’t playing, tourney organizers say their gold medal places more attention on the event and there are several men’s and women’s teams that could be future Olympic medalists.

“They are on a massive tour right now promoting the sport. And it’s good for it,” said Evan Workin, the manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Curling Club and a member of the Jed Brundidge team that’s playing for a national title. “It’s obviously something you need to do.”

USA Curling staff member Tom Violette, who was helping Friday with finishing touches inside the Fargo arena, said the opportunities that come with an Olympic title are “just too important and too numerous” to pass up. He also said the interest that goes with the gold medal has made it “enjoyable and challenging” for the curling organization.

“Pretty crazy times right now. It’s just nuts. I can’t come up for a better word for it,” Violette said. “I don’t think anyone in the world expected a gold medal.”

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MORE: Top moments from Team USA’s run to curling gold