Meet The U.S. Men’s And Women’s Olympic Curling Teams
by Todd Kortemeier
On the men’s side, there’s Team Shuster that won the first Olympic curling gold medal in Team USA history four years ago in PyeongChang. On the women’s side there’s Team Peterson, returning most of their athletes from PyeongChang 2018 and fresh off a bronze medal at the most recent world championships. Both teams are at the top of their game, reflected in their respective runs to the gold medal in Omaha, Nebraska, at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling.
While these teams may look similar, there are a few key differences from PyeongChang. Chris Plys, previously an alternate on Shuster’s team at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, replaced Tyler George. Adding an experienced, familiar teammate has made the team even stronger, they believe.
“I think we have just built off of the success that the three of us had before getting Chris, and then adding Chris I think we’ve only gotten stronger,” said lead John Landsteiner. “We’re ready to go and defend the medal.”
Team Peterson was known as Team Roth four years ago when current third Nina Roth was the skip. The team has also added skip Tabitha Peterson’s younger sister Tara to the mix. Their team is playing as well as any in the world, evidenced by their world championship medal, the first for a U.S. women’s team in 15 years. That momentum carried over into Olympic Trials.
“We knew what we were capable of,” said second Becca Hamilton. “We knew going into worlds we wanted to come away with a medal so we’re just excited to move forward towards the Olympics now and hopefully get on the podium there too.”
Here’s a closer look at the 2022 U.S. Olympic Curling Team.
John Shuster competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Curling on Nov. 20, 2021 in Omaha, Neb.
Even before winning the historic gold medal in 2018, Shuster was already one of the most accomplished U.S. curlers in history. He made his Olympic debut at the 2006 Torino Games and helped the U.S. win bronze for its first-ever Olympic curling medal. The 39-year-old from Duluth, Minnesota, is a seven-time national champion and has one world championship bronze medal. He also has won mixed doubles national championship, and finished runner-up at the 2017 mixed doubles Olympic trials. Shuster is a four-time winner of USA Curling Male Athlete of the Year, most recently in 2019.
Chris Plys competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Mixed Doubles Curling on Oct. 31, 2021 in Eveleth, Minn.
Plys got his first taste of Olympic action in 2010. He went to Vancouver as an alternate, but got the rare opportunity to get in a game in place of Shuster as the team shuffled its lineup to try and generate some momentum. The 34-year-old from Duluth will now get his second Olympic shot 12 years later. Of late, Plys has been a part of two national championship teams and a mixed doubles national title earlier this year. Plys and partner Vicky Persinger also won the 2021 U.S. mixed doubles curling trials and will have their chance to qualify in that discipline as well at a December tournament.
Matt Hamilton competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Curling on Nov. 20, 2021 in Omaha, Neb.
Hamilton has been a part of Team Shuster since 2014, being a part of four national championships, a world bronze medal, and of course an Olympic gold medal. The 32-year-old from McFarland, Wisconsin, is also an accomplished mixed doubles player with his sister Becca. Hamilton, a two-time junior national champion, was the 2017 USA Curling Male Athlete of the Year.
John Landsteiner - Lead
John Landsteiner competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Curling on Nov. 20, 2021 in Omaha, Neb.
Landsteiner has been on Team Shuster now for 10 years and has competed in both the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The 31-year-old from Duluth has been with the team for four national championships and the 2016 worlds bronze medal. Landsteiner was the 2014 USA Curling Male Athlete of the Year.
Tabitha Peterson competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Curling on Nov. 20, 2021 in Omaha, Neb.
Now a two-time champion at the Olympic trials, there are few U.S. curlers more accomplished domestically than Tabitha Peterson. The 2020 USA Curling Female Athlete of the Year has won two junior and two senior national championships, plus two mixed doubles national championships. The 32-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, also competed at the mixed doubles curling trials with partner Joe Polo. The duo made it to the first round of the playoffs where they suffered a narrow defeat.
Nina Roth competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Curling on Nov. 20, 2021 in Omaha, Neb.
The last time this group of athletes was celebrating an Olympic trials victory, it was with Roth throwing their last stones. Roth, 33, stepped away from her role as skip in the 2019-20 season when she went on maternity leave and knew she would be sidelined from the team for a while. The 2018 USA Curling Female Athlete of the Year is a two-time junior and senior national champion and two-time Continental Cup winner. The native of McFarland, Wisconsin, has competed in three world championships.
Becca Hamilton competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Curling on Nov. 20, 2021 in Omaha, Neb.
Becca Hamilton returns to the Olympic Games for the second time, but will be competing in her third event. In 2018, Hamilton competed with the women’s team and also with her brother Matt (of Team Shuster) in the Olympic debut of mixed doubles. In team competition, the 31-year-old from McFarland, Wisconsin, is a two-time junior and senior national champion. The Hamilton siblings also won the 2017 mixed doubles national championship, the same year they won the mixed doubles trials. Becca was the 2017 USA Curling Female Athlete of the Year.
Tara Peterson - Lead
Tara Peterson competes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Curling on Nov. 20, 2021 in Omaha, Neb.
Siblings Tabitha and Tara have played on the same team going back to their junior days, only separated when older sister Tabitha moved up to the senior ranks and then again when Tara, 30, attended dental school at the University of Minnesota. Tara has now been with the team since the 2018-19 season. She’s a three-time junior national champion and two-time senior national champ.