LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — They’ve sung karaoke with Jimmy Fallon, blown the Gjallarhorn at discipline degree earlier than a Minnesota Vikings game and thrown curling rocks at the ice at an NHL outside recreation in Washington.
You may say John Shuster and his American teammates are taking part in existence seeing that winning an Olympic gold medal in February 2018.
“It’s been kinda loopy,” Shuster said this week at the world men’s curling championship. “It’s been fun though. Everything that we’ve accomplished and the opportunities that we’ve had been a whole lot of pinch-yourself kinda stuff.”
Shuster, a 36-yr-vintage from the Minneapolis-St. Paul location, bowled over the arena by way of winning the Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang, beating Canada’s Kevin Koe in the semifinal and Sweden’s Niklas Edin inside the very last. He and his teammates have become on the spot celebrities south of the border, and extra than a yr later are still reveling in what meaning for them as athletes and for curling itself.
“There are clubs that had club spikes across the time of the Olympics, and these human beings weren’t coming to throw rocks, they were coming to come to be curlers,” Shuster said.
“We’ve visible curling clubs in essential metros, in non-curling regions, have huge growth. I’ve been to Charlotte, and I’ve been to Buffalo, and a to a bunch of places that have slightly had curling ice and their memberships are growing, and they’re growing in power with folks that are playing in and three leagues a week. That’s been a lot a laugh to look.”
The spoils of repute had been pretty fun as properly. From appearances on past due-night TV speak indicates to the NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals to the Vikings recreation to possibilities to play in celebrity golf tournaments, Shuster has been living the dream.
“I was a knuckleball pitcher in high college and college or even in an adult ball,” Shuster stated. “I occurred to be playing in the identical movie star golfing event as (former Red Sox pitcher) Tim Wakefield down in South Carolina. On an exact reproduction of Fenway Park (Fluor Field), I informed Wakefield about it and he stated ‘Oh, I have become a big fan of yours all through the Olympics.’
“I stated, ‘You don’t even realize. I’m a knuckleballer, too.’ He said, ‘We gotta seize a ball and play some catch.’
“So I played catch with Tim Wakefield for like 5 mins in that Fenway Park replica, just chucking knuckleballs from side to side.”
They’ve also executed masses of labor selling the game across the country and feature used their celeb to assist improve money for numerous reasons.
“Having possibilities to do precisely in our community is one of the things I didn’t foresee previous to winning and that’s been a number of a laugh, having that taking place,” he said.
It’s all quite surreal for Shuster, who went 2-7 at the Olympics in 2014 and got reduced from the U.S. Countrywide High-Performance Program earlier than forming his crew of “rejects” and qualifying for the Olympics again in 2018.
Shuster, 0.33 Tyler George, second Matt Hamilton and lead John Landsteiner commenced out the Olympic tournament in Pyeongchang by using going 2-4 and needed to win their remaining 3 games simply to make the medal round. They did just that and added more wins in the playoffs to cap a maximum not going run for gold.
It became “Miracle-on-ice” kind of stuff, and the American public took be aware.
“I don’t suppose that’s gonna sink in proper now,” stated Shuster, who fell to 4-2 at the arena championship Tuesday with a 7-four loss to Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz. “For me, I just love having the opportunity to share this recreation. Curling brings in a number of the excellent human beings in the international, and while you’re in a curling venue, for the maximum component, you’re getting the fine out of human beings and seeing them of their excellent mild.”
The Shuster foursome now consists of Chris Plys at third in the region of George. However, the rest of the Olympic championship group stays intact.
They’ve all had their moments inside the sun, along with being on the sector for that nationally televised Vikings-Packers NFL game on a Sunday night. As a lifelong fan, should there be something more satisfying than blowing that famed Viking horn before kickoff?
“Those are possibilities that normal humans simply don’t get to do,” Shuster stated. “As curlers, we’re everyday humans. We are elite athletes, but in our personal city, we’re simply regular human beings walking around the metropolis. This has been something unique.”