This is part five in a web series catching up with members of the 2018 Olympic Men's Curling Team that won gold. This month we highlight Tyler George, who was Team Shuster’s vice skip in PyeongChang. He lives in Duluth, Minn., but has been busy travelling the country as USA Curling's sport ambassador.
Q: Along your journey you’ve had the chance to meet some pretty awesome people. Has anyone who you’ve met left you star struck? Also, what celebrity do you think could bring the most to your league team?
A: Like, the big celebrities don't really affect me as much. It's the ones that that have some kind of personal significance. Like, I met Dennis Haysbert from 24. Its my favorite TV show of all time -- I’ve watched it all the way through twice. I saw him at the ESPYs and I fan-girled completely for, like, three minutes. For a player to add to my team I would have to go with Jared Allen because he’s a good team guy and those of us who have met him know that he’s playing for all the right reasons and he loves the sport.
Q: I asked Matt about the white pants, but I would like to hear your side of the story. How did you feel about them?
A. I didn’t hate the pants, I just thought that if we were gonna wear them, we better win. We better have a little track record. And then we came out first game with white shirts and white pants. Like, "All right, here we are world." It felt more like an attention grabber and at a tournament like that I’m more focused on what we’re doing not what we’re wearing. This is coming from the same guy who wore tiger shirts at the national championships, but the Olympics is different. Plus we got on a roll with the gray pants, and when you’re winning you stick with the winning streak pants.
Q: If you could give your junior curling self any advice or knowledge, what would it be?
A: That's an easy one: relax. I was so wired up when I was a junior. The wins and the losses meant too much to me. I wouldn’t slam brooms or get angry, but I would get so worked up, especially at the end of games. So my biggest advice would be to relax and get in a routine. It’s important to treat big games the same way as every other competitive game. We did that really well over the last four years and that’s why we were so successful at the end of the Olympic cycle because we went through the same processes and routines at every game.
Q. I know your shoes were the talk of the town, but I wanted to follow up and ask about your new shoes? How are they treating you?
I don’t have new ones yet. I still have the old ones. I've played so little over the last season. I guess I never had a reason to get new ones to this point. I have the shoes that I went shopping for, but I haven’t made them into curling shoes. I still might have them be curling shoes, but it’s just not something I’ve felt the need to do. I think I think there's something in my head that says if I actually get new shoes that means I have to use them more and I really don't want to play that much right now. If we win mixed nationals then I might have to get new shoes for worlds in the fall. (Update: George's team was not victorious at the Mixed National Championship so new new shoes for Ty...yet)
Q: If you could pick another Olympic sport (summer or winter) to compete in, what would it be and why?
A: Luge. I met some of the guys at the Olympics who do luge, so I know I would have that camaraderie.
Q: You’ve been travelling all around the country, what’s been the best part of that experience? How has retirement been?
A: I love it because I really think I'm doing good things for the sport off the ice in the ambassador role that I'm in. I get to travel around the U.S. to areas where the sport is growing, and try to help that growth continue. It's really important to keep people invested in to keep that enthusiasm from the Olympics going and to see the passion that people have for our sport right now in this country. It's right where I need to be and I know this is a very important thing for our sport going forward. I know the door is cracked open if I ever wanted to return to competitive curling, but right now what I’m doing off the ice is way more important than what I could be doing on it.
The next Gold Medal Q&A will feature Coach Phill Drobnick, who led Team USA to its historic Olympic finish.
Suzanna Viau is a junior curler from Wisconsin. Originally from Stevens Point, but now curling out of St Paul. She is a U18 National Championships bronze medalist and two-time Wisconsin State High School Champion. Keep an eye out for the next installment featuring Tyler George.