By Karen Price | April 25, 2019, 4:14 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Cory Christensen and John Shuster smile for a photo.

 

Olympians John Shuster and Cory Christensen may be new to the World Mixed Doubles Championship, but they rolled through pool play like the accomplished curlers they are. 

Shuster, who famously skipped the men’s team to gold at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and Christensen, who was the fifth on Nina Roth’s Olympic team in 2018, suffered their first loss of the tournament against Russia on Thursday. But they’d already gotten the news they were hoping for before the game ended. So, the U.S. qualified for the playoffs and will be moving on.

Shuster, 36, and Christensen, 24, have been playing together for four years and won their first mixed doubles national title in March. That earned them the right to compete in this year’s world championship in Stavanger, Norway.

The U.S. has medaled just once before in the event, which began in 2008. Joe Polo and Tabitha Peterson won bronze in 2016.

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Shuster and Christensen kicked off the tournament with a 10-1 victory over Poland then followed that up with a 9-3 win over Latvia. They cruised past Greece with a 13-4 victory on Monday and improved to 4-0 with an 11-0 win over Kosovo on Tuesday. 

That put them in a three-way tie with Spain and Russia in their group with a couple of key matches to close out group play. They beat Slovenia and then dealt Spain its first loss with an 8-5 victory to improve to 6-0. Russia had already taken its first loss of the tournament before their matchup, in which Russia prevailed, 5-4, with an eighth-end rally. The U.S. and Hungary were the only two undefeated teams out of the 48 that started the tournament going into the final games of pool play. 

With Shuster and Christensen advancing, their next match will come Friday in the round of 16. The quarterfinal round is also scheduled for Friday. 

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.