Skip to content

John Shuster’s rink dominates to win U.S. Olympic Curling Trials

Nov 17, 2013, 4:38 PM EDT

John Shuster AP

Curling games can take more than three hours. John Shuster‘s rink finished off Pete Fenson‘s rink in under 90 minutes at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday.

Fenson conceded the third game in a best-of-three championship series after falling behind 11-1 after four of 10 regulation ends in Fargo, N.D., shaking hands with Shuster to end it early.

Shuster’s rink will now head to an international Olympic qualifier in December with hopes of earning the U.S. and his rink a spot in Sochi.

How surprising was the blowout?

“A little bit, but we decided today that we weren’t going to let these guys get comfortable on the ice,” Shuster said on NBCSN. “We were going to come after them right away and see if we couldn’t conjure up something big and get a big lead.”

Shuster had scored five points in the third end to take a commanding 7-1 lead, and then four more in the fourth to take an all-but-insurmountable edge not even halfway through.

It was a stunning one-sided game after the first two between the rinks were tied after regulation on Friday and Saturday and went 11 ends. Shuster won the opener 9-8. Fenson forced a third game with a 5-4 win Saturday.

It’s notable that Fenson rallied from 8-3 down after seven ends on Friday. He must have believed that a 10-point deficit with three more ends to make it up than Friday was too much.

“At that point in the game, it wasn’t all that difficult,” Fenson said, according to USA Today. “We were so far behind that was really no catching up anyway.”

Shuster won the trials, but his rink is not guaranteed an Olympic berth.

The next step is what’s called the Olympic Qualification Event from Dec. 10-15 in Füssen, Germany, because the U.S. did not qualify for Sochi via results at the last two World Championships.

The top two from the Olympic Qualification Event will earn the final spots at the Olympics.

The U.S. is favored to take one of those two spots given it’s the highest-ranked nation in the Olympic Qualification Event field (eighth overall) and has qualified into every Olympic curling tournament since the sport returned to the Games in 1998.

Shuster called it a “B qualifier.”

“We’ve played against pretty much all the teams that are there, and we’ve had a lot of success against them,” Shuster said. “We’re going to celebrate this tonight, but go back to work, like they say, tomorrow.”

Fenson, 45, skipped the U.S. rink that won bronze at the 2006 Olympics. Shuster was also on that rink and then led his own rink to the 2010 Olympics, where he was briefly benched after a poor start.

Shuster, 31, is the manager of Pickwick Restaurant & Pub in Duluth, Minn. His vice skip is Jeff Isaacson, 30, a science teacher from Gilbert, Minn., who was also on the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team that was knocked out in round-robin play.

The last two members of the team will be Olympic rookies, should they qualify. Second Jared Zezel, 22, is a Bemidji State student and a relative of the late NHL player Peter Zezel.

Lead John Landsteiner, 23, is an engineer from Duluth.

“There’s not a weak spot on our team,” Shuster said. “Every single one of these guys is one of the best in the world at each position, respectively.”

All-Star team of U.S. curling wins women’s trials

Latest Posts
  1. German amputee long jumper won’t fight European Championships exclusion

    Jul 31, 2014, 1:19 PM EDT

    Markus Rehm AP

    Markus Rehm insists he has no competitive advantage.

  2. Meryl Davis, Charlie White to be grand marshals at NASCAR race

    Jul 31, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

    Sochi Olympics Figure Skating AP

    Ice dancers continue whirlwind post-Olympic tour.

  3. Meb Keflezighi, Caroline Wozniacki to run New York City Marathon

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT

    Meb Keflezighi AP

    Boston Marathon winner Keflezighi returns to site of 2009 triumph.

  4. Adelina Sotnikova: I want to show I deserved to be Olympic champion

    Jul 31, 2014, 8:31 AM EDT

    Adelina Sotnikova Reuters

    “After the Olympics I grew up,” Sotnikova told RIA Novosti.

  5. U.S. swimming rankings going into National Championships

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps AP

    Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky slated for meet in Irvine, Calif., next week.

  6. UCLA track and field stadium flooded (photos)

    Jul 30, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT

    Drake Stadium

    Water main break sent up to 10 million gallons of water around campus.

  7. U.S. pairs figure skaters throw unusual ceremonial first pitch (video)

    Jul 30, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT

    Felicia Zhang, Nate Bartholomay AP

    Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay have ended their pairs partnership but teamed up at Tropicana Field.

  8. German long jump champion, a Paralympian, left off European Championships roster

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

    Ulm German Athletics Championships Getty Images

    German track and field president said the jumper could gain a “catapult effect.”

  9. Jonathan Horton enters P&G Championships

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT

    Jonathan Horton Getty Images

    Every 2012 Olympian and 2013 World Championships team member is in the field.

  10. Chinu Xxx wins Commonwealth Games bronze; how the wrestler got his name

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT

    Chinu XXX Getty Images

    It became Xxx at a passport office, according to the BBC.

  11. Mayor Marty Walsh says Boston in ‘very good position’ for 2024 bid

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:35 PM EDT

    Marty Walsh Getty Images

    Boston is one of four finalist cities for a potential U.S. bid for the 2024 Olympics.

  12. Olympic golf update from IGF VP Ty Votaw (video)

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT

    Ty Votaw Getty Images

    Officials hope to hold test event in late 2015 or early 2016.

  13. Eddy Alvarez heats up in Arizona League

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    Eddy Alvarez

    Olympic silver medalist speed skater hit his first two professional home runs.

  14. Royals photobomb, meet Usain Bolt at Commonwealth Games

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:14 AM EDT

    Prince Harry

    Prince Harry follows the Queen’s lead in Glasgow.

  15. Watch 41-shot rally, crazy table tennis celebrations at Commonwealth Games

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:41 AM EDT

    Gao Ning Getty Images

    Scottish player pulls off a “wedgie” celebration.

  16. Nigerian weightlifter, 16, fails drug test after winning Commonwealth Games gold

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    Chika Amalaha AP

    Chika Amalaha may be stripped of her gold after becoming the youngest women’s weightlifting champion in Commonwealth Games history.

  17. Three of four missing Ethiopian athletes at World Junior Championships found

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT

    IAAF World Junior Championships - Day 5 Getty Images

    Athletes found safe in Beaverton, Ore., after going missing in Eugene.

  18. Yuna Kim attends coaching workshop

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT

    Yuna Kim Reuters

    Retired Olympic champion took part in Korea Skating Union workshop, according to South Korean media.

  19. U.S. 400m runner Torrin Lawrence dies in car accident

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:19 AM EDT

    Torrin Lawrence Getty Images

    Lawrence won gold on the U.S. 4x400m relay team at the 2014 IAAF World Relays.