USA claimed their first Olympic curling title with a stunning 10-7 win over Sweden.
The victory was a fairytale finale for skip John Shuster who was ditched by USA Curling after a disappointing ninth place at Sochi 2014.
It was Shuster’s final stone of the eighth end that proved decisive.
Double takeout joy
After beating defending champions Canada, USA took real belief into the final.
With the scores level at 5-5 after seven ends, USA put four stones into the house where they had the hammer.
Niklas Edin’s final stone left Sweden scoring two putting the pressure on Shuster.
And how he responded.
A superb takeout removed both Swedish stones and stayed in the scoring zone.
Five points to USA and a near-unassailable 10-5 lead.
Sweden hit back with two in the ninth end, but the gap was too great.
Edin conceded before the end of the 10th with USA winning 10-7.
And curling’s most famous recent convert shared his joy.
Congratulations USA @TeamShuster we did it! John shuster, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo. Magnificent, I’m so proud of you guys! #Curling #CurlingNightInAmerica #curlingiscoolfool #teamusa #usacurling
— Mr. T (@MrT) February 24, 2018
Redemption for the Rejects
Shuster was part of USA’s bronze-medal rink at Turin 2006 and soon took over as skip.
But results deserted them as they finished 10th at Vancouver 2010 and ninth at Sochi 2014.
To his shock, Shuster was then left out of USA Curling’s high-performance training programme.
The pizza-loving sports shop employee formed a “Team of Rejects”.
It included liquor store manager Tyler George, who had been considering retirement.
‘The Rejects’ won the 2015 nationals and then took fifth at the World Championships.
USA Curling brought them back into the fold and they then claimed bronze at the 2016 World Championships.
Two years later, Shuster and his rejects are Olympic champions.