OMAHA, Neb. — His team was facing elimination, their backs against the wall, needing a win to stay alive. But John Shuster had been there before.
At the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling, Team Shuster dropped the first of a best-of-three playoff series to Team Heath McCormick and had to win game two to keep its Olympic dreams alive, knowing it would then need another consecutive win to make the Olympic team.
Luckily Shuster, a three-time Olympian and 2006 Olympic bronze medalist, is no stranger to do-or-die situations. He pulled out a huge 9-4 win in game two to force a game three and rode that momentum to a 7-5 win Saturday to take the series, 2-1, and earn a spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.
Shuster becomes the first American men’s curler to make a fourth Olympic team.
This will be Shuster’s third time skipping the Olympic squad. In 2006, he played behind skip Pete Fenson en route to the nation’s only Olympic curling medal.
Of Shuster’s teammates, only lead John Landsteiner has Olympic experience, finishing eighth with Shuster at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. Vice skip Tyler George and second Matt Hamilton will be making their Olympic debuts. They are among the first members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, joining biathletes Lowell Bailey and Susan Dunklee, who qualified in February, and the four members of Team Roth — Nina Roth, Tabitha Peterson, Aileen Geving and Becca Hamilton — who qualified earlier in the day.
Team Shuster has won national titles in 2017 and 2015 and represented the U.S. at the World Men’s Curling Championship three times, finishing fifth in 2015, fourth in 2017 and winning bronze in 2016 for the country’s first world medal in nine years.