Niklas Edin

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John Shuster, U.S. beat Sweden in Olympic curling final rematch

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John Shuster‘s rink beat a Swedish team skipped by Niklas Edin on Sunday in a rematch of the PyeongChang Olympic final. Shuster and co. notched their first tournament title since the Winter Games.

Shuster, along with Olympic gold-medal teammates John Landsteiner and Matt Hamilton, plus new team member Chris Plys, won 3-1 in the final of a stop of the new World Cup in Omaha, Neb.

“We think that this team can be not just a Grand Slam team but a top five team in the world,” Plys, who replaced Tyler George as vice skip this season, said, according to USA Curling. “So far on our performance together I think we’re on the right track toward that.”

It was shades of PyeongChang last week as Shuster’s team rallied from defeat early in the tournament to run the table through the final. At the Olympics, the U.S. underdogs won their last six games. In Omaha, it was the last five.

The Americans qualified for the eight-team Grand Final at the 2022 Olympic host Beijing in May.

The world championship is the first week of April in Lethbridge, Alberta. Shuster’s teams finished third, fourth and fifth at three world championship appearances in the last Olympic cycle before skipping last season’s worlds amid the post-Olympic whirlwind.

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U.S. men’s curling team’s dream run falls short at worlds

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The U.S. men’s curling team won five straight games, just like at the Olympics. But this time, at the world championship, they needed six straight to make the medal round.

A rink led by Greg Persinger finished sixth at worlds in Las Vegas over the weekend. The Americans overcame a 1-6 start to sneak into the playoffs, where they lost to eventual silver medalist Canada with a semifinal spot at stake on Saturday.

Sweden, skipped by Niklas Edin, took gold after being upset by the U.S. Olympic team skipped by John Shuster in the PyeongChang final. It marked Edin’s third world title to go with two Olympic medals.

Shuster’s team missed nationals last month as it promoted the sport nationwide following its Olympic stunner. In their absence, Persinger’s rink claimed the U.S. title to earn the world spot.

Persinger, a 40-year-old father of three, owns a Cold Stone Creamery franchise with his wife in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“We played every team that’s in the playoffs to the end. I mean you got your money’s worth with us. I think every game but against Edin, we went to the last rock,” team member Rich Ruohonen said, according to USA Curling. “We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, and everyone knows we can play with the best in the world.”

Persinger’s team played just over 20 games together before worlds, according to USA Curling. Their five-game winning streak included a victory over Canada’s Brad Gushue, the defending world champion, but Gushue’s rink topped the Americans 6-4 in the playoffs.

Persinger and team members Colin Hufman and Philip Tilker played for skip Brady Clark at November’s Olympic Trials and finished in last place out of five teams, going 1-7 in round-robin play.

Ruohonen, 47, was an alternate for Heath McCormick‘s team that was runner-up to Shuster at trials.

Shuster’s team was fourth, third and fifth at the previous three worlds, the best string of U.S. men’s or women’s results at that level in a decade.

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