Top athletes and team for 2019 announced

By Terry L. Davis | Sept. 05, 2019, 2:35 p.m. (ET)


Sept. 5, 2019

Shuster, Sinclair named top athletes for 2019, doubles duo takes home team award

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – With a room full of awards already on display, four-time Olympian and 2018 Olympic champion John Shuster (Superior, Wis.) has been named USA Curling’s top male athlete for 2019. After a three-peat victory at the Women’s National Championship, Jamie Sinclair (Osgoode, Ontario) takes home the top female athlete award.

For the second time in the award’s history a mixed doubles rink will take home the honor of top team as Shuster and Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) are rewarded for their 2019 accomplishments.

“We are very honored to be named USA Curling’s Team of the Year! The Mixed Doubles Worlds was such a unique and fun event to be a part of with 48 nations being represented. It was amazing to see how much excitement for the sport there is around the world,” said Christensen, 24, who also was a member of the 2018 Olympic team.  

Christensen and Shuster won the 2019 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship in March and then went on to secure the bronze medal at the 2019 World Mixed Doubles Championship, which marked just the second time that the U.S. made the podium at the event.

“For Cory and me, coming so close to the Olympics in mixed doubles last year gave us both a ton of confidence, but also left us hungry to do more. It was awesome capturing the National Championship together. Getting onto the podium at the World Championships was exciting, but still leaves me wanting more,” said Shuster.

Christensen and Shuster went 7-1 to capture their first mixed doubles national title together in Seattle.

“It was a huge grind to get through our U.S. Mixed Doubles Nationals. We are lucky to have such great competition in the states,” Christensen said. “After winning Nationals we felt we were well prepared to go to worlds and win a medal. Obviously, we were hoping for gold, but were really happy to come out with a bronze medal.”

At the world championship the duo boasted a 9-2 record and defeated Australia for the bronze. “John and I have a lot of fun playing mixed doubles together and wish our schedules allowed for us to play more tournaments together,” Christensen said. “Playing that many mixed doubles games together in Norway was a great experience for us, and we are excited to continue together as a team this year!”

This is the fourth time Shuster has been a part of a squad that has been honored as Team of the Year (2019, 2018, 2016, 2006). Christensen was Female Athlete of the Year in 2016.

This is also the fourth time Shuster has been recognized as USA Curling’s Male Athlete of the Year. He was previously honored in 2018, 2015 and 2009 and becomes the first male to win the award four times.

“Following an amazing Olympic year, both my men’s and our mixed doubles teams really wanted to enjoy playing this season,” Shuster said. “I couldn’t have been prouder of my men’s squad for continuing to work hard this past season and keep improving when it would have been easy to take the year easy. Every member of the team would’ve been a very worthy recipient of this award!”

Shuster led his men’s team of Chris Plys, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner to a 10-1 record as they captured the 2019 USA Curling Men’s National Championship title in Kalamazoo, Mich., in February. Shuster, 36, and Team USA finished fifth at the 2019 World Men’s Championship in Canada and at the Champions Cup, a Grand Slam competition. The team concluded the season ranked No. 12 on the World Curling Tour Order of Merit (WCT OOM).

Sinclair, 27, won her third straight Women’s National Championship title in February to take home USA Curling’s Female Athlete of the Year Award. Sinclair’s women’s national title streak is just one shy of skip Debbie McCormick’s four wins in a row (2006-2009).

“It’s an honor to receive this award. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to represent my country and to make them proud,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair’s team finished just out of the playoffs at the 2019 World Women’s Championship in seventh place and wrapped up the season ranked No. 30 on the WCT OOM.

“I give full credit to my team. All our achievements have been made as a team and I wouldn’t be here without them. I look forward to another successful season with these ladies,” Sinclair said.

The awards were determined by USA Curling’s Athlete/Curler Recognition Committee. The 2019 winners also will be nominated to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee for its annual athlete and team awards.

Past recipients of the award can be viewed here.