U.S. Men Clinch Olympic Curling Berth At World Championships
by Todd Kortemeier
John Shuster and Matt Hamilton celebrate at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 24, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
After winning the first Olympic curling gold medal in U.S. history in 2018, the men of Team USA will be back for more.
By virtue of clinching at least a top-six finish at the World Men’s Curling Championship, the U.S. team of John Shuster, Chris Plys, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Colin Hufman secured a spot for Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. After beating Netherlands 9-4 Thursday night in Calgary, Alberta, the U.S. men sit in third place at 9-3, two games clear of seventh place with one game to go. The top six teams also qualify for the playoffs.
Shuster, Hamilton and Landsteiner were all in PyeongChang three years ago along with Tyler George and Joe Polo as the U.S. won its historic and dramatic gold medal, just the second Olympic curling medal in U.S. history. In the eighth end of a 5-5 game, skip Shuster nailed a double takeout with his final throw to secure a five-point end, putting his team in front for good. Shuster’s team — with Plys in for George at second — went on to win the 2019 and 2020 national championships and will go for a third in a row next month.
Even with its championship pedigree, Team Shuster will still need to earn its way to Beijing by winning November’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling in Omaha, Nebraska. Shuster is a four-time champion at the event. His team is already qualified for Trials by winning the 2020 national championship. Five other teams will join them.
But before all that, Shuster will attempt to capture one gold medal he’s never won: a world championship. Shuster’s best finish at worlds was a bronze medal in 2016 with the same team that won in PyeongChang. The U.S. hasn’t won a men’s world curling championship since 1978.