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South Korea’s ‘Garlic Girls’ curlers say coaches verbally abused them, excluded skip

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South Korea’s Olympic silver medal curling team — affectionately known as the “Garlic Girls” — want their coaches replaced, claiming they were verbally abusive, withheld prize money and excluded the team’s skip after the Winter Games, according to South Korean media.

“We would like to continue our training [for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics] without our current coaches and their influence,” the players wrote in their letter to the president of South Korea’s Olympic Committee, according to the Korea Herald. “Our coach Kim was hardly present while we were training for the Olympics. Whenever we made complaints about Kim to Kim Kyung-Doo, who is her father and the vice president of Korea Curling Foundation, he verbally abused us.”

One coach denied some claims, which South Korea’s Olympic Committee is investigating.

Skip Kim Eun-Jung, Kim Kyeong-Ae, Kim Seon-Yeong, Kim Yeong-Mi and Kim Cho-Hi were a revelation in PyeongChang, reaching the final after finishing seventh at the 2017 World Championship. South Korea had only one previous Olympic women’s curling appearance, placing eighth in Sochi.

All team members hailed from Uiseong, a farming area known for its garlic.

In the reported letter, the silver medalists wrote that their head coach, Kim Min-Jung, plus her husband and father, both curling officials, mistreated them. They said they were banned from using social media after the Olympics. And that coaches tried to “rule Kim Eun-Jung off the team” after she got married in July, according to the Korea Times.

Jang Ban-Seok, the head coach’s husband and the Olympic mixed curling team’s head coach, denied some claims.

He said prize money covered team expenses, and the curlers signed a financial agreement. He also said that since the skip was planning to get pregnant, they needed to find a replacement skip this summer.

“We’ve never trained in a way that would lead to a curler being kicked off the team,” Jang wrote, according to the Korea Times.

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2018 Curling Night in America TV schedule

Curling
NBC Sports
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Curling Night in America returns for a fifth season on NBCSN on Fridays, featuring Olympic champion John Shuster‘s team.

The weekly series, running through Dec. 14, features members from all three U.S. Olympic teams — three members from Shuster’s rink, the first U.S. Olympic gold-medal team, plus four from Nina Roth‘s team and mixed doubles siblings Matt and Becca Hamilton.

The U.S. teams faced Italy, China and Japan from Aug. 27-29 in Minnesota, with a points system to determine the season winners in each division.

All NBCSN telecasts will also stream on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

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Date Coverage Time (ET)
Fri., October 12 Team USA vs. Italy – Men 8 p.m.
Fri., October 19 Team USA vs China – Mixed Doubles 11 p.m.
Fri., October 26 Team USA vs. China – Women 9:30 p.m.
Fri., November 2 Team USA vs. Japan – Women 8 p.m.
Fri., November 9 Team USA vs. Italy – Mixed Doubles 8 p.m.
Fri., November 23 Team USA vs. Japan – Men 11 p.m.
Fri., November 30 Team USA vs. Italy – Women 9:30 p.m.
Fri., December 14 Team USA vs. Japan – Mixed Doubles 7 p.m.
Fri., December 14 Team USA vs. China – Men 9 p.m.

Team Shuster tabletop curling game to hit stores

Tabletop curling
Ambassador Games
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You’ve seen tabletop football and hockey, but what about curling?

The Team Shuster Gold Medal Tabletop Curling Set is set to hit TJ Maxx stores this fall, as first reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The game is marketed as “developed and endorsed” by the U.S. Olympic men’s curling team of John ShusterTyler George, Matt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner and Joe Polo that made a stunning run to gold in PyeongChang.

The game features little stones that curl and is similar to shuffleboard, plus a curling 101 guidebook.

The idea was hatched by an Ambassador Games employee in Hong Kong shortly after the Olympics.

Team Shuster competed two weeks ago for the first time since PyeongChang and has at least four events planned through the end of October.

The return followed a whirlwind six months that included honors at Minnesota sports events and golf tournaments, including meeting Jack Nicklaus. Shuster was invited to an April White House state dinner. Hamilton got his own bobblehead.

George has left the team for an indefinite break from the sport, replaced by veteran Chris Plys. It was Plys who replaced Shuster in the lineup at the 2010 Olympics, when Shuster was benched after an 0-4 start.

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MORE: Top moments from Team USA’s run to curling gold

Tabletop curling
Ambassador Games