Jan 25, 2022 - Sports

Curling legend John Shuster ready to defend unlikely Olympic gold

Curler John Shuster, 39, who helped Americans win their first ever Olympic medal in 2006, heads to Beijing after winning an unlikely gold in Pyeongchang in 2018, kicking off a bit of a curling craze back home.

The big picture: Shuster's rise to Olympic glory hasn't come easily. In 2010, his team placed dead last in Vancouver and second-to-last in Sochi in 2014. Shuster and three of his 2018 teammates will now defend their gold medal win.

What they're saying: "When your back is against the wall, that's where your character really shows," Shuster told the Star Tribune in November. "Everybody on our team, we're all fighters.

  • "It's going to be special to get a chance to go back [to the Olympics] and see what we can do, see if we can't get another gold."

Shuster grew up watching his dad at the local curling club, though he was initially more drawn to the treats than the sport. "We were bribed with Dr. Pepper," he jokingly told People. "And they had the best popcorn at the concession stand."

  • Team USA is sending 222 athletes to Beijing, and Shuster is one of just four making their fifth trip, joining White (snowboarding), Lindsey Jacobellis (snowboarding) and Katie Uhlaender (skeleton).

The event: In curling, two teams take turns sliding heavy granite stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area, which has four concentric circles. The team with the most stones closest to the bullseye is awarded points. Each team has eight stones to score the most points.

  • Curling was featured at the inaugural 1924 Winter Olympics but the results weren't considered official until 2006. It was a demonstration sport in 1932, 1988 and 1992 before finally debuting at the 1998 Games.
  • Canada has won the most medals (11), followed by Sweden (8), Switzerland (7), Great Britain (4), Norway (4) and the U.S. (2).

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show curling is scored when the team with the most stones closest to the bullseye is awarded points, the circles themselves do not a have point value.

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