U.S. wins first mixed doubles curling world championship

Korey Dropkin, Cory Thiesse
WCF/Logan Hannigan-Downs

Korey Dropkin and Cory Thiesse delivered the U.S. its first world title in mixed doubles curling and ended the nation’s 20-year world title drought across the sport’s three Olympic events.

Dropkin, 27, and Thiesse (née Christensen), 28, beat Japan 8-2 in Saturday’s final in Gangneung, South Korea, at the same venue where John Shuster skipped the U.S. to its first Olympic curling title in 2018.

Dropkin and Thiesse were 7-2 in round-robin play, then won all three playoff games, including over traditional curling powers Scotland and Canada on Friday to reach the final.

The U.S. made the podium for the third time ever at an annual mixed doubles worlds, which debuted in 2008, after bronzes in 2016 and 2019. Mixed doubles was added to the Olympic program for the 2018 PyeongChang Games.

The last time U.S. curlers won a world title in an Olympic event was in 2003, when Debbie McCormick skipped the victorious women’s team.

Dropkin and Thiesse’s win also meant that the U.S. became the fourth country to win world titles in all three Olympic events (men’s, women’s, mixed doubles) after Switzerland, Scotland and Sweden. Canada has never won a world title in mixed doubles.

Dropkin and Thiesse skipped men’s and women’s teams, respectively, that lost in the most recent Olympic Trials finals. Thiesse was an unused alternate on the 2018 Olympic team. Dropkin could unseat the 40-year-old Shuster in this Olympic cycle as the top U.S. men’s skip.

Also Saturday, Norway beat Canada for bronze, giving that nation a 54th medal in world championships in Winter Olympic program events this season. Its record for medals at a single edition of a Winter Olympics is 39.

Since its last world title in 2018, Canadian men’s, women’s and mixed doubles teams have won eight medals at world championships — all silver or bronze.

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Scotland wins men’s curling worlds; U.S. misses playoffs

Bruce Mouat

Scotland, the home of curling, won its first men’s world title since 2009, while American John Shuster‘s team finished eighth, his worst result in seven world championships as a skip.

Scotland’s team skipped by Bruce Mouat, which won 2022 Olympic silver for Great Britain, beat a Canadian team skipped by 2006 Olympic champion Brad Gushue 9-3 in Sunday’s final in Ottawa.

“The year after the Olympics, where we were gutted with the result, but knew we had created something special when we were there, we knew that if we brought something similar we could definitely win a world championship, and that’s exactly what we did tonight,” Mouat said, according to British Curling.

Scotland ended its longest men’s world title drought since a 24-year gap from 1967 to 1991. Canada, the most successful curling nation in history, last won a men’s world title in 2017 and is in the midst of its longest men’s world title drought since the 1970s.

Gushue did stun Sweden in the playoffs, ending Olympic champion skip Niklas Edin‘s streak of four consecutive world titles (though Edin did arguably pull off the shot of the tournament in round-robin play).

Gushue, 42, was in tears in a TV interview after losing the final to take silver at worlds in back-to-back years.

Shuster, who skipped the U.S. to the 2018 Olympic title, went 5-7 and missed the six-team playoffs. It marked the first time that Shuster missed the playoffs at worlds since 2015 and the only time he has gone below .500 in round-robin play at worlds since becoming a skip in 2007.

“I feel like I’m a better curler now than I was in 2018 when we won gold,” Shuster said last week while his team was 3-6, according to the Ottawa Sun. “But the rest of the world is better, too. A lot of it comes through experience and learning.”

At 40 years old, Shuster also faces a domestic challenge heading toward the 2026 Winter Games, if he bids to tie the U.S. record of six Winter Olympic appearances. The other top American teams have far younger skips — Korey Dropkin (27) and Danny Casper (21).

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Swiss extend best streak in curling history; Norway continues epic winter sports season

Switzerland Women Curling

Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni extended the most dominant run in world curling championships history, skipping a women’s team to a fourth consecutive title and pushing an unbeaten streak to 36 consecutive games.

Tirinzoni, along with Alina Pätz (who throws the last stones), Carole Howald and Briar Schwaller-Hürlimann, beat Norway 6-3 in Sunday’s final in Sandviken, Sweden.

They went 14-0 for the tournament after a Swiss team also skipped by Tirinzoni also went 14-0 to win the 2022 World title. Tirinzoni’s last defeat in world championship play came during round-robin in 2021 at the hands of Swede Anna Hasselborg, the 2018 Olympic champion.

In all, Tirinzoni’s Swiss are 42-1 over the last three world championships and 45-1 in world championship play dating to the start of the 2019 playoffs. Tirinzoni also skipped the Swiss at the last two Olympics, finishing seventh and then fourth.

Tirinzoni, a 43-year-old who has worked as a project management officer for Migros Bank, is the lone female skip to win three or more consecutive world titles.

The lone man to do it is reigning Olympic champion Niklas Edin of Sweden, who goes for a fifth in a row next week in Ottawa. Edin’s teams lost at least once in round-robin play in each of their four title runs.

Norway extended its incredible winter sports season by earning its first world medal in women’s curling since 2005.

Norway has 53 medals, including 18 golds, in world championships in Winter Olympic program events this season, surpassing its records for medals and gold medals at a single edition of a Winter Olympics (39 and 16).

A Canadian team skipped by Kerri Einarson took bronze. Canada has gone four consecutive women’s worlds without making the final, a record drought for its men’s or women’s teams.

A U.S. team skipped by Olympian Tabitha Peterson finished seventh in round-robin, missing the playoffs by one spot.

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