In 2018, John Shuster‘s team went on a historic run to the first U.S. Olympic curling title. Shuster and Co. went on another streak this week, bidding to return to the Winter Games.
Team Shuster won its first eight games of a 10-game double round-robin at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, clinching the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s best-of-three finals with two preliminary games left. The combined score was 71-31 before it dropped its ninth game.
Another 2018 Olympian, Tabitha Peterson, skips a team that clinched a spot in the women’s finals, going 7-1 in the first eight games. Team Peterson earned bronze at the 2021 Worlds, the first medal for U.S. women in 15 years.
The best-of-three finals run Friday through Sunday. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.
Going undefeated “was definitely a goal” for Shuster’s rink, new team member Chris Plys said Tuesday night, noting he didn’t know if it had been done before.
“But we kind of figured, at some point along the way, we could maybe take one or two [round-robin losses],” he said.
Shuster, along with 2018 Olympic teammates Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner and Plys, added in 2018 after Tyler George stepped away from competition, won their opener 9-0 last Friday. They finished all but one of their first eight opponents before the full 10 ends.
Shuster, 39, is bidding to become the first curler to compete in five Olympics as a medal sport, according to Olympedia.org.
In 2018, Shuster’s team rallied from the brink of elimination to win its last five games, including the final over Sweden. Since, the new team Shuster (with Plys) continued to prevail domestically and finished fifth at a pair of world championships.
“After winning Olympic gold last time, his confidence level is through the roof, as it should be,” said NBC Sports analyst Kevin Martin, a 2010 Olympic champion for Canada.
Team Shuster will face a team skipped by one of Korey Dropkin, Greg Persinger, Scott Dunnam or Rich Ruohonen for the Olympic berth. Only Dropkin has really challenged Shuster, losing one game in an extra end and then beating Shuster 6-1 on Wednesday night.
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