John Shuster wins Olympic curling trials, eyes repeat gold, record in Beijing

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John Shuster won the U.S. Olympic Trials, qualifying for a record fifth Olympic curling appearance and to defend his surprise 2018 gold medal.

Team Shuster rallied to take the best-of-three finals series over a team skipped by Korey Dropkin, winning the decider by a comfortable 5-4 on Sunday. Shuster, 39, and his quartet lost the opener in Omaha on Friday night, putting them in must-win scenarios on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Shuster delivered, just as he did at the 2018 Olympic Trials (losing the first game of the finals series) and at the PyeongChang Winter Games (starting 2-4, then securing five consecutive must-win games to bag the first U.S. Olympic curling title).

Dropkin, 26, was in position to become the youngest skip to win a U.S. Olympic Trials since 2006. Until a misfire in the sixth end of the second game, breathing life into Shuster. Two other men on Dropkin’s “Young Bucks” team are in their 20s. But Shuster’s group, with everyone 31 and older, made the American team of the future wait at least one more year.

“The hardest I’ve ever worked to beat anybody my entire life,” Shuster told Dropkin during post-game handshakes.

Shuster can become the first person to curl in five Olympic tournaments as medal events (since 1998; so can 46-year-old Torger Nergård, should Norway qualify), according to Olympedia.org.

Shuster is joined by 2018 gold-medal teammates Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner and new team member Chris Plys, who replaced Tyler George when he retired two months after PyeongChang.

MORE: Plys, the man mistaken for a gold medalist

Nobody has won multiple Olympic gold medals in the men’s tournament. Shuster will enter as an underdog, as he did in PyeongChang after notable failures as a skip in 2010 (when he was briefly benched and Plys promoted) and 2014. His team finished fifth at the last two world championships in 2019 and earlier in 2021.

Sweden, skipped by Niklas Edin, won all three world titles in this Olympic cycle. It was Edin whom Shuster stunned in the 2018 Olympic final. Edin won four of his five games against Shuster since the start of 2019, according to Curlingzone.com.

The next significant curling event is the ongoing Canadian Olympic Trials, with playoffs next weekend.

Canada was a medalist in the first 11 Olympic curling tournaments since it returned as a medal sport in 1998, but it failed to make the podium in the men’s and women’s events in 2018.

Even so, three Olympic gold-medal skips are in the round-robin fields in Saskatoon — Brad Gushue (2006), Brad Jacobs (2014) and Jennifer Jones (2014).

Then in December, Plys and Vicky Persinger try to make the Olympic mixed doubles tournament in the last-chance qualifier in the Netherlands.

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Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final