Olympic champion John Shuster and 2018 Olympian Tabitha Peterson, and their teams, are headed for the 2020 curling world championships.
Both skips led their teams to USA Curling national titles Saturday in Spokane, Washington, a big contributing factor to them securing berths in the upcoming world championships.
Shuster, a four-time Olympian, and teammates Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and alternate Joe Polo won the first Olympic gold medal in U.S. curling history in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Hamilton and Landsteiner, along with 2010 Olympian Chris Plys, are on Shuster’s 2020 team, which defeated Rich Ruohonen’s rink, 8-6, in a dramatic title victory that was decided in the 10th end Saturday night.
Shuster’s rink defeated Ruohonen in both the title game and page 1-2 playoff. It also was a rematch of last year’s title game won by Shuster.
Shuster is in the world championships for the ninth time and has been the skip for five of those nine squads. The men’s world championships begin March 28 in Glasgow, Scotland.
After the win was completed, Hamilton pumped his arms in celebration as the crowd cheered at Eastern Washington University’s Recreation Center.
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Team Peterson topped Team Jamie Sinclair by a score of 7-5 in Saturday’s women’s final to lock down a berth in the women’s world championships, which begin March 14 in Prince George, British Columbia. Peterson is filling in for 2018 Olympian Nina Roth as skip because Roth is out on maternity leave. Joining Peterson are 2018 Olympian Aileen Geving, Tara Peterson and 2018 Olympian Becca Hamilton.
“It feels really good to say it loud, too: Team USA,” Peterson said. “We’re really excited for the world championships coming up. It’s been our goal all season to put ourselves in a place where we can win this thing and hopefully represent the USA well at the world championships.”
Peterson’s win in the women’s title game halted a three-year national championship streak by Sinclair. Team Sinclair had defeated Team Peterson in round-robin play, but Peterson defeated Sinclair 9-4 in the page 1-2 playoff game to reach the final, then won again in the final.
Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton, siblings who also made the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team in mixed doubles, will be among the teams back on the ice Feb. 27-March 1 in Bemidji, Minnesota, when the national championships in mixed doubles are held.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.