2007 world bronze medalists to represent U.S. in Japan

Jan. 08, 2010, 12:02 p.m. (ET)

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Todd Birr's team will represent the U.S. at the 2010 Karuizawa International Bonspiel Jan. 27-31 in Karuizawa, Japan.

Birr (Mankato, Minn.) led his team to the bronze medal at the 2007 World Men's Championship. Teammate Kevin Birr (St. Peter, Minn.) also was on the team and will join his brother in Japan along with Greg Wilson (Vernon Hills, Ill.) and Tom O'Connor (Golden Valley, Minn.). 

The Karuizawa International Curling Championship is sponsored annually by the Japan Curling Association in commemoration of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano. Karuizawa hosted the curling competition for the 1998 Games, where curling was first contested as a full-medal Olympic sport.

Based on the World Championships in the previous year, the JCA invites five international men's and five international women's teams to compete against three Japanese teams in each division. The teams will play in a round robin with the top teams advancing to the semifinals. The finals will take place Sunday afternoon. 

The Birr brothers and Wilson also represented the U.S. at the Brazil-USA Challenge earlier this year in a best-of-five battle to earn the second North American berth at the 2009 Men's Worlds. A similar competition will take place in early February (U.S. team to be announced) once again for the berth in the 2010 Men's World Championship in Cortina, Italy.

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, bitRail and Nike and is partnered with CurlingZone.com.