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Team Shuster wins US curling trials, will defend their gold in Beijing

This will be the 5th Olympic games for captain John Shuster, a native of Duluth.

OMAHA, Neb. — Editor's note: The attached video originally aired on April 30, 2021

Defending Olympic curling champion John Shuster is headed back to the Winter Games for a fifth time. The 2018 gold medalist and Minnesotan skipped his team to victory over Team Dropkin at the U.S. trials, winning 5-4 to take the best-of-three finals two games to one and earn a spot in Beijing. 

John Landsteiner and Matt Hamilton will also return to the Olympics after winning it all in Pyeongchang. Chris Plys joined the foursome to replace Tyler George, who retired. 

“A couple of friends texted me last night and told me I needed to bring more energy,” Matt Hamilton, second on Team Shuster told USA Curling. “It’s kind of my role on this team so I wanted to bring that and have some fun tonight.”  

NBC Olympic Talk reports that team Shuster rallied to take the best-of-three finals series over a team skipped by Korey Dropkin, winning the decider by a comfortable 5-4. Sunday. Shuster, 39, and his quartet lost the opener in Omaha on Friday night, putting them in must-win scenarios on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Shuster delivered, just as he did at the 2018 Olympic Trials (losing the first game of the finals series) and at the PyeongChang Winter Games (starting 2-4, then securing five consecutive must-win games to bag the first U.S. Olympic curling title).

Dropkin, 26, was in position to become the youngest skip to win a U.S. Olympic Trials since 2006. Until a misfire in the sixth end of the second game, breathing life into Shuster. Two other men on Dropkin’s “Young Bucks” team are in their 20s. But Shuster’s group, with everyone 31 and older, made the American team of the future wait at least one more year.

“The hardest I’ve ever worked to beat anybody my entire life,” Shuster told Dropkin during post-game handshakes.

Shuster can become the first person to curl in five Olympic tournaments as medal 

On the women's side, Tabitha Peterson, Nina Roth, Tara Peterson and Becca Hamilton earned the American slot in Beijing.