Olympic Curling Customs: Alright, Hamilton(s)!

Last weekend saw the last of the USA Curling Olympic qualifying, as Becca and Matt Hamilton won a tightly-contested battle to be the American team in the debut of Olympic mixed doubles curling as a medal sport.

Although the lost the first two games in the round-robin portion of the trials, they won the remaining seven games and an exciting finals against Cory Christensen & John Shuster wasn’t decided until the last shot of the final end.

Both Hamiltons will also be in PyeongChang as members of the women’s and men’s teams.

…And they got to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and along with Jason Sudeikis (not to be confused with former Dodger Bill Sudakis)

I’m sure a lot of people are like Jason Sudeikis and think of the musical Hamilton, but me…  When Becca & Matt won, I thought of Fast Times At Ridgemont High, channeled my ‘Inner Spicoli’ and said:

More Olympic Curling Customs: The USA Men’s Team

The Team USA Curling Trials concluded two weeks ago, and in the process we found out who would be representing the US in the 2018 Winter Games.

Last Saturday’s post was about the Women’s Team; this time we’ll be representing the Men. Team Shuster lost the first game to Heath McCormick’s team, but rallied back to win games 2 and 3 to win the spot in Pyeongchang.

John Shuster, John Landsteiner and alternate Joe Polo have been to the Olympics before, but this will be the first time for Ty George and Matt Hamilton. Hamilton is the brother of Becca Hamilton, who’s on the women’s team going to Pyeongchang.

The US Men finished in a 3-way tie for 7th in the 2014 games, but Team Shuster made the playoffs in the 2017 World Men’s Curling Championship back in April.

The US Men would lose the Bronze Medal game to Switzerland, 7-5.

This will be skip John Shuster’s 4th Olympics. He was on Pete Fenson’s team which won Bronze in 2006, and he also represented the USA in 2010 and 2014.

Elsewhere in Olympic qualifying… The Canadian qualifying event, Tim Hortons Roar Of The Rings, starts today in Ottawa. You may remember that Canada took both the Men’s and Women’s Gold in Sochi in 2014…  Here are the 1973-style customs I made nearly 4 years ago to commemorate those teams:

Both of these teams are competing for another shot, but there’s always plenty of competition in any type of Canadian curling championship.

This coming Tuesday sees the beginning of the World Curling Federation’s Olympic Qualification Event in Pilsen, Czech Republic.  This will determine the final two countries for the Men and Women.  For the Women, the competition is between China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Latvia.  You may notice that this is only 7 teams;  Norway had qualified for the event but the Norwegian Curling Association decided not to send a women’s team.

For the Men, it’s between China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia.

Quick note for those of you who prefer non-curling customs:  You’ll get your turn tomorrow.

NBCSN Has Curling For The Next Six Fridays! (Squeals Like A Little Girl)

The other day my Tivo tipped me off to something exciting for Americans like me who haven’t been able to watch curling since Sochi… Starting tonight, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) is going to have “Curling Night In America” for six straight Fridays!
2014 Topps Olympics Ice Cube Curling Center
You can see the press release here.

This coverage is from the inaugural U.S. Curling Grand Prix which took place in Minnesota in early December. It features men’s and women’s teams from the U.S., China, Japan and New Zealand.  I don’t know any more about this, largely because I was afraid if I searched for more specifics on the Curling Grand Prix I’d spoil myself on the results.

2014 Topps Olympics Pete Fenson
Team USA is coached by Pete Fenson, who made a cardboard appearance in the 2014 Topps Olympics set, although he ended up in the category of “Hopefuls” rather than “Olympians” (and went to Sochi as a TV commentator).

As I’ve mentioned here before, I did not come anywhere close to growing up around curling, I came to enjoy it from watching the Olympics. I had no idea what was going on at first, but the more I watched, the more I understood, and the more I understood the more I got into it.

Last year I got into it so much that I created a set of custom curling cards…
2014 TSR Curling - Ayumi Ogasawara
While Japan was represented at the U.S. Curling Grand Prix, I have no idea whether Ayumi Ogasawara was there… But I just like the way this custom turned out.

So needless to say, I will be watching NBC Sports Network tonight!   (…or falling asleep on the couch and watching the recording tomorrow morning.)