Against the Swedes, the United States of America broke a tie with a massive double-knockout in the eighth end, scoring five points to take a 10-5 lead, which effectively ended the game. But Shuster’s team topped them twice before then taking down the tournament’s second-ranked team in the Olympic final, stringing together five straight wins along the way.
“We’ve been hoping for this, and we wanted to win a gold medal!”
Team USA’s men’s curling team, from left, Tyler George, John Shuster, John Landsteiner and Matt Hamilton of the celebrate after winning gold.
So when USA Curling started the “High Performance Program” in 2014 with the goal of improving the team’s performance in worldwide competitions, Shuster wasn’t invited. Coach Maria Prytz was on the team that won silver four years ago in Sochi.
Sweden took control of the match by stealing a point in back-to-back ends – the fourth and the fifth – even though Korea had the last-rock advantage known as the hammer.
From there, Sweden was playing catch-up.
Shuster and co. pulled a huge comeback victory over Swedish skip Niklas Edin’s club at the Gangneung Curling Centre. The Korean matches in the Gangneung Curling Venue were also packed, and fans cheered for their every shot – sometimes mistakenly.
Team USA won an improbable gold medal in men’s curling with a “Miracurl on Ice” win over Sweden in the gold medal match.
“During the entire end, we could kind of feel it building”, Shuster said.
Alternate Joe Polo’s was the only one that was correct. “I can’t tell you how un-nervous I was sitting in the hack to throw it”. We’re just gonna go out there and play our best.
Everyone made it really easy for me.
Canadian third Marc Kennedy, a refreshingly honest and blunt man who was the most outspoken curler in the Olympics, saw the results of these Games as a big positive for the sport as a whole.
So Sweden settles for the Silver Medal and Switzerland knocked off Canada for the Bronze.
Swedish skip Hasselborg paid tribute to Team Kim, and said the welcome they had received in Korea had helped them take gold.
Of course, they didn’t get *everything* right.
For one day, at least, the United States is a curling nation.
South Korea got a point back thanks to a takeout with its final stone of the sixth end.
The match settled into a 5-5 tie through seven ends before the United States stormed through with a rare five-point end in the eighth.
The win had Team USA tasting gold, and they wanted it. But they would only join if they were allowed to stay together as a team.
With a Swedish rink in the final for the fourth consecutive Olympics, Hasselborg’s team played with cool confidence while the charismatic Korean four from a small garlic-growing county who had been thrust into the global spotlight, seemed to finally wilt under the enormous pressure.
After the game, with his wife and two kids headed to a hotel and his wifes encouraging words ringing in his head, Shuster found a grassy spot outside the venue, sat down and came to a realization.