It was a historic moment for the Olympics and for the sport of curling after the U.S. mens team made a surprising climb to the top of the pack and ended the games by winning the gold medal.
Yes, the U.S.A. won the gold medal in curling. Really! It’s true!
I think it’s safe to say John Shuster and his team, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo, shocked the curling world with their win. Things began with a rough start during the round robin curling games, with the U.S. not doing very well and barely managing some wins.
Things were looking like they would go the way they had in previous Olympic appearances for the U.S., meaning not a very strong showing. The one bronze medal the U.S. won in curling during the 2006 Olympics appeared it would continue to remain the sole success the USA would have in curling for at least another four years.
But then something happened. The team started racking up wins. After defeating the heavyweight Canadian team, Team Shuster were unstoppable making it to the medal rounds. It all came down between USA and Sweden. It was going to be tough competition and the odds favored Sweden. But with an amazing shot made by Shuster in the 8th end giving the U.S. a five point lead over Sweden, it secured their victory for gold.
It was an amazing run to watch. Every four years since it came back to the Olympics I’ve really enjoyed watching the curling competitions. Sure, I’ve rooted for team USA and hoped they would win, but didn’t expect huge results. Shuster has been in the past four Olympics and other than than Bronze medal in 2006 was never able to create much excitement or success.
I’ll admit at the start of the Olympics if I were to place money on who I though would win it wouldn’t have been on the U.S. I was as surprised as everyone else. I was rooting for Shuster and the boys, but was fully expecting them to be eliminated easily. My biggest hopes were for them to win a few games and just enjoy watching them play. But somehow they managed what a lot of people thought would be the impossible
It was a real joy to watch this year as his team came together, played some really great games and managed a historic win for the sport. Plus, they all seem like really nice, fun guys to boot. They’re really enthusiastic to promote curling and turn people onto it, so rooting for them and being happy for their win is pretty easy.
It’s funny, with their one win of the gold, it has given more exposure and has drawn more attention to curling in the U.S. than it has ever gotten before. During the winter Olympics curling always gets a bump up in interest every four years. Folks stumble onto it, they start searching the internet about it, it gets talked about and trending as the games progress luring in fans.
This year it had to be the apex of that. Team Shuster’s win really took the spotlight of curling and shined it brighter than it had ever done before in the U.S. Folks were waking up in the middle of the night to watch the gold match live. Social media attention about the guys lit up. I mean, it’s the first time I can remember when curling made the front page of the sports section of my newspaper!
It would be great if this gold win would finally help kickstart a wave of interest in curling in the U.S. That it will help it be viewed as less an odd strange game and more a competitive, captivating, fun sport like it’s viewed in other countries. Yeah, curling is riding higher than it ever has in this country, but will it fade away until the next Winter Olympics or can it maintain some of this momentum?
It would really help if curling could get a wider reaching platform in-between the Olympics. Some televised games that would sustain interest and reach people on a regular schedule. Like I’ve said before, they air so much crappy television and oddball events all over the place now, why can’t curling games get a weekly slot somewhere and some games get featured? It would certainly help the sport. In other countries it probably gets as much airtime as football and basketball games, but here it’s basically zero. Maybe the US victory will help make that happen.
The U.S. curling teams climb to the top has already been described as ‘a true underdog story’. This ‘ragtag’ team, playing a sport that is practically ignored in their own country, suffering years of setbacks for their team skip, struggling to qualify, arriving at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, looking to be down for the count, being faced with a series of must-win games, defeating all these heavyweight teams and making a historic win for a gold medal – yeah it does sound like a classic sports underdog story. A perfect Cinderella story on ice and with brooms.
Might someone decide to make it into one of those inspirational, beat-the-odds sports movies? They do them about every other sport, why not curling? I would watch it!
We’ll see what happens and how big a flame Team Shuster has ignited for the sport of curling in the U.S. Already, their victory has done more than anyone had believed. Congrats boys!