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Vicky Persinger And Chris Plys Win Mixed Doubles Curling Qualifier To Earn Olympic Berth

by Todd Kortemeier

Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys celebrate with their trophys after winning the Mixed Doubles Olympic Trials Oct. 31, 2021 in Eveleth, Minn. 

 

They were the best team in October at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling.
They were the best team this week at the Olympic Qualification Event in the Netherlands.
And now Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys will get the chance to show they’re the best mixed doubles tandem in the world at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Persinger and Plys clinched their Olympic berth Thursday in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, when they knocked off the team from the Russian Olympic Committee. Persinger and Plys didn’t lose a game in Leeuwarden, going 6-0 in the round robin to qualify directly for the final. 
They trailed only twice all tournament, including in the final. An opening single was followed by a steal of two, then Plys’ runback double takeout in the 3rd end led to a force of one. A miss by Persinger in the seventh opened the door for the Russians to score three and tie the game, but the draw came up short to only score two and the Americans were able to close out the game with hammer in the eighth.
“(The 7th end) was not a good one for me,” Persinger said on the broadcast afterward. “So just tried to put it aside and play the best 8th that we could and made some shots and it feels great.”

Chris Plys sweeps as Vicky Persinger watches her throw during the Mixed Doubles Olympic Trials on Oct. 31, 2021 in Eveleth, Minn.

 

Persinger and Plys have been playing mixed doubles together since the 2018-19 season and in 2021 won their first national championship. They followed that up by winning the Olympic trials in Eveleth, Minnesota, in October, with Persinger hitting the final shot to clinch the title. But that was only half the journey to Beijing, as Persinger and Plys had to head to the Netherlands to secure their Olympic spot.
It’s the first Olympic Winter Games for Persinger, 29. The native of Fairbanks, Alaska, has come close before, finishing runner-up at the 2018 team trials and 3rd in the mixed doubles trials with partner Jared Zezel. She’s a three-time national women’s champion, including in 2021 playing second on the team skipped by Cory Christensen.
Plys, 34, will be doing double duty in Beijing as he also qualified for the Games with Team Shuster, which won the men’s trials in Omaha in November. Beijing is the second Games for Plys, who was an alternate on Shuster’s team at the 2010 Vancouver Games that finished 10th. Plys is a two-time national champion in men’s curling, but the Duluth, Minnesota, native is thrilled to have a chance at an elusive Olympic medal.
“I’ve been grinding at this freaking game for a long time,” said Plys after winning at mixed doubles trials. “And had a lot of heartbreaking losses in trials and just to finish one off feels about as good as I hoped it would.”
Team USA will look to improve its performance in mixed doubles from the Olympic debut of the event in 2018, when Becca Hamilton and brother Matt Hamilton — Plys’ teammate on Team Shuster — finished sixth in PyeongChang. The 2022 field will include Australia, which secured the other spot available from the qualification event to send its first-ever curling team to the Games. The U.S. is the fifth-ranked country in the world in mixed doubles.


Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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