John Shuster is two wins from becoming the second American to curl at four Olympics.
Shuster, an Olympic bronze medalist in 2006 and skip in 2010 and 2014, leads a team that will play a rink skipped by 41-year-old Heath McCormick in the U.S. Olympic Trials finals in Omaha.
The best-of-three series to determine the U.S. Olympic team starts Thursday night on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. A full trials broadcast schedule is here.
Shuster’s team went 6-2 against four other teams in round-robin play, easily advancing to the finals.
McCormick, who was third at the 2014 Olympic Trials won by Shuster, squeezed into the finals by beating 49-year-old Todd Birr‘s team 8-6 in a tiebreaker Thursday morning. Both teams were 4-4 in round-robin.
Birr, 49 and the oldest male or female curler at trials, was trying to become the oldest U.S. Winter Olympic competitor in 70 years.
Shuster’s team beat McCormick’s team 7-5 and 6-5 in their two round-robin games this past week. They are the top U.S. teams in the world rankings (Shuster is 18th; McCormick 20th).
Shuster, 35, hopes to join Debbie McCormick (unrelated to Heath) as the only American curlers to compete at four Olympics.
The women’s finals also feature the top two ranked teams skipped by Nina Roth and Jamie Sinclair. No woman in the trials field has Olympic experience.
The U.S. has earned one Olympic curling medal, that 2006 men’s bronze. Curling was part of the Winter Games in 1924 and every Olympics since 1998.
Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Great Britain are the world powers in curling.
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