Allison Pottinger, Craig Brown named U.S. curling team alternates

Allison Pottinger
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The complete U.S. Olympic Curling Team(s) will include five athletes each, not four.

Allison Pottinger and Craig Brown were added to the rinks that won the Olympic Trials over the weekend, it was announced Monday.

They are alternates and won’t necessarily compete in Sochi.

Both 2010 U.S. Olympic teams had alternates.

The Vancouver men’s alternate, Chris Plys, replaced the benched John Shuster as skip for one game. Shuster’s new rink won the Olympic Trials in Fargo, N.D., on Sunday. The 2010 women’s alternate was Tracy Sachtjen, who did not play in Vancouver.

Pottinger, a 2010 Olympian, skipped the rink that was swept by Erika Brown‘s rink in the Olympic Trials championship series.

Craig Brown is Erika Brown’s younger brother. He was the alternate (but in more of a coach’s role) on Tyler George‘s rink, which was eliminated in round-robin play at trials. Therefore, he could be going to the Olympics without having thrown one stone at trials.

The U.S. men’s team isn’t in the Olympics yet though.

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 rinks out of eight 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 on NBCSN. “We’re going to celebrate this tonight, but go back to work, like they say, tomorrow.”

Erika Brown’s 1988 Olympic experience