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Vicky Persinger And Chris Plys Off To 1-0 Start In Mixed Doubles Curling With Win Over Australia

by Todd Kortemeier

Chris Plys competes during a practice session ahead of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 2, 2022 in Beijing.


BEIJING — Team USA has its first win of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and it was a thriller.
Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys rallied from a two-point deficit after six ends in their opening game of the mixed doubles curling tournament Wednesday night from the National Aquatics Centre to take a 6–5 win over Australia.
After four ends exchanging singles, the match exploded with steals, key misses and clutch shots. It all came down to the last shot of the game and Australia’s Tahli Gill missed on her clearing attempt to give Persinger and Plys a steal of one and the victory.
“Yeah when she let go of it I thought we had a chance of getting a break,” said Plys, a 2010 Olympian. “It wasn’t a great feeling. I kind of underswept Vicky’s last one wanting to get closer to their last one to make their last one a bit more challenging. You don’t want to celebrate a miss but we’ll definitely take the win and move forward with it.”
Persinger, competing in her first Olympic Games, threw the first rock to get the Games underway for the United States. It looked like the Americans might rush out to a big lead in the first end after Australia missed on a double takeout and ultimately left the U.S. lying three. But the Aussies, playing in their first Olympic curling tournament as a nation, rescued the end with a double takeout to score a single.
From there each team got their single with hammer heading into halftime. The first big break of the match belonged to Persinger and Plys as Gill’s final rock came up short leading to the first steal of the game. Australia then employed the power play to generate some offense in the sixth, where they broke the game open. A pair of missed double takeout attempts left Australia with a draw for three, which they made to open up a two-point lead.
Those missed double takeouts would not haunt, however, as in the next end Persinger would get another chance at one, the biggest one of the night. Persinger, who executed 88% of her takeouts in the game, made a thin double takeout with her last rock to tie the score at 5-5.

Vicky Persinger during a practice session ahead of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 2, 2022 in Beijing.


“I was glad to make the double in seven because it gave us a chance in eight,” said Persinger. “We’ll take it for our first game.”
Needing a steal to win, the U.S. tried to keep rocks out front to limit Australia’s chances. Persinger executed a draw in close — the one Plys said he underswept — to force Australia to have to clear it out to win the game. Gill’s shot when flashing by, however, and Team USA had its perfect start. 
“The misses we made and the mistakes we made, we’ll definitely learn from moving forward,” Plys said. “Sometimes a little luck goes a long way in a tournament like this, so we’ll take it.”
After going undefeated at the December qualifying event that booked them their place at the Games, Persinger and Plys now haven’t lost since their final round robin game at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling back in October.
Besides winning the national championship in May 2021, that constitutes the past year of competition for Persinger and Plys, who also compete on their respective women’s and men’s teams, with Plys competing with the team led by newly-minted Team USA flag bearer John Shuster later in the Beijing Games. Both athletes were thrilled to finally hit the ice for practice and then for their first game Wednesday.
“We got here several days early and were finally able to get on the ice today,” Persinger said. “Even in our practice we kept talking about how great it felt. We’re excited to kind of get back into that rhythm.”
A doubleheader awaits the U.S. on Thursday, with a morning matchup against Italy and an afternoon tilt with Norway, the 2018 Olympic bronze medalists. Round robin play continues through Feb. 7, with the semifinals also beginning that day. The top four teams from round robin play advance. Bronze- and gold-medal games are set for Feb. 8.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022? Visit to view the medal table and results.

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