Chris Plys competes against Team Czech Republic during the Curling Mixed Doubles Round Robin on Day 2 of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 6, 2022 in Beijing, China.
BEIJING — The U.S. mixed doubles curling team of Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys played statistically one of their strongest games of the Olympic tournament, but it wasn’t enough.
They dropped a 6–5 result to Switzerland that eliminated them from medal contention in mixed doubles curling with one round robin game to go at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
“So close” could be the theme for the Beijing experience of Persinger and Plys, who each lamented close losses that could have made the difference between elimination and advancement.
“Mixed doubles is brutal sometimes,” Plys said afterward. “Looking back on the week, we were right there in pretty much every single game, and it just comes down to one or two shots a game that can turn 3-6 into 6-3 or 7-2 really easily. Unfortunately, we were on the side that you don’t want to be on.”
Sunday’s game was Persinger and Plys’ third one-point loss, and they had two two-point losses. They showed a lot of resilience, including in Sunday’s game as they allowed three points in the first end but then limited the damage from there.
The U.S. couldn’t put together a multiple-point end of its own, however, until tying the game with a deuce in the seventh end. That gave the hammer back to the Swiss who executed a draw to the button for the win.
“I think I speak for both of us in being disappointed,” Plys said. “You dream about coming to these events and train your a** off for your whole life and to not have what you know you have on that stage just blows, to say the least.”
Persinger, who was making her Olympic debut, echoed that sense of missed opportunity.
“I know the way we can both play, and we just didn’t quite bring it,” she said. “I agree with what Chris was saying, it’s not like we were out there just absolutely horrible but definitely some ends that will be remembered for a while, unfortunately, that just kind of got away from us.”
Another close call happened earlier Sunday with the team’s first match of the day against the Czech Republic. Persinger and Plys had leads of 1-0, 4-3 and finally 8-7 going into the final end only to allow three game-winning points to the Czechs. That loss dropped Team USA under .500 and on the brink of elimination.
“It’s big for sure,” Plys said in the aftermath of that loss. “We had them a few times. I just couldn’t frickin’ finish it off. Frustrated, bummed, ticked off — I don’t know, a little bit of everything.”
Persinger and Plys have a chance to finish their tournament on a positive note as they wrap up round robin play against Great Britain on Monday.
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Olympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.
While the athletes may look back on their tournament with regret, both also found plenty to be proud of. While Persinger made her Olympic debut, Plys played in his first Olympic Games since 2010. He can also look forward to playing on the men’s team with John Shuster that begins play Wednesday. Persinger is an extra alternate for the women’s team in the case of COVID-19 issues but will head back to the States if she isn’t needed.
“I still had fun,” Persinger said. “And I think that’s important. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have fun today. But I enjoyed just being out there and throwing. This is what we play for four years to get the chance to play in … just being part of this bigger Team USA. It’s something I’ll remember and carry with me, and I hope I get a chance to come back some day.”
In addition to resting up and getting ready for the men’s tournament — though Plys said he’d be ready to play “tomorrow” — he also plans to spend some time with his teammate before she has to head home.
“Just try and get some rest,” he said of his plans for the next few days. “Hang out with Vicky, make sure she gets to enjoy the rest of her experience here in Beijing. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last few years, and before I go to my men’s team she deserves to have as good of an experience as she can here.”
Plys said it was helpful to have all the extra throwing reps as he looks ahead to the men’s tournament. He also hopes to have learned a few things from the ice that he can share with Team Shuster as they seek to repeat as gold medalists. While the mixed doubles loss stings, he doesn’t plan to have it carry over into Wednesday.
“I know my boys are hungry,” Plys said. “The last thing I want to do is go and not match their intensity and not match their hunger to go out there and repeat 2018. I’ll be ready. It might take a day or two in between our events but once the event starts, I’ll be ready.”