John Shuster

John Shuster (/ˈʃstər/; born November 3, 1982) is an American curler.[1] He led team USA to gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the first American team to ever win gold in curling. He also won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.[2] He has played in four straight Winter Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018) and seven World Curling Championships (2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017).

John Shuster
 
Born (1982-11-03) November 3, 1982
Team
Curling clubDuluth CC,
Duluth, MN
SkipJohn Shuster
ThirdChris Plys
SecondMatt Hamilton
LeadJohn Landsteiner
AlternateKorey Dropkin
Mixed doubles
partner
Cory Christensen
Career
World Championship
appearances
8 (2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019)
World Mixed Doubles Championship
appearances
1 (2019)
Olympic
appearances
4 (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)

Career

Pete Fenson rink and 2006 Winter Olympics

Shuster began his international career playing lead for the Pete Fenson rink. He played in his first world competition at the 2003 Ford World Men's Curling Championship, where the U.S. finished eighth. The rink returned to the Worlds at the 2005 Ford World Men's Curling Championship, where the rink lost in a tiebreaker game, after posing an 8-3 round robin record. The Fenson rink won the 2005 United States Olympic Curling Trials and went on to play at the 2006 Winter Olympics, where it won a bronze medal (the first-ever Olympic medal in curling for the U.S.). After the season, Shuster left the rink to form his own team.

2007-2014

Shuster played in his first Worlds as a skip at the 2009 Ford World Men's Curling Championship in Moncton, New Brunswick, finishing with a 7-4 record and losing in a tiebreaker match against Norway to finish fifth. His rink won the 2009 United States Olympic Curling Trials and represented the United States at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. However, after Shuster missed several crucial last-rock shots in three of the United States' first four matches in the 2010 Winter Olympics, U.S. coaches took the unusual step of benching Shuster and replacing him with alternate Chris Plys.[3]

After skipping the 2010 Olympic team to a last place finish, Shuster joined the Craig Brown rink as his third. For the 2010-11 season, Shuster formed his own rink with Zach Jacobson, Jared Zezel, and John Landsteiner. He then replaced Jacobson with longtime teammate Jeff Isaacson at third in the 2012–13 season. Shuster won his second World Curling Tour event as skip at the 2012 St. Paul Cash Spiel, defeating Todd Birr in the final.

After back-to-back bronze medal finishes at the 2012 and 2013 United States Men's Curling Championships, Shuster and his team were selected to participate at the 2013 United States Olympic Curling Trials by the national High Performance Program committee.[4] Shuster and his team finished first in the round robin, and played Pete Fenson in the three-game final round, winning after the third. Thus, Shuster's rink represented the United States at the qualifying event for the Olympics, and succeeded in securing the final spot at the Olympics for the United States. He again represented the United States at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, marking his third consecutive appearance at the Olympics. However, Shuster's rink got off to a slow start and was unable to recover, finishing in ninth place with a 2–7 win-loss record.

U.S. rejection and 2018 Winter Olympics

Following the U.S. team's Olympic struggles and a post-Olympics combine (to which 14 curlers were invited), Shuster and Landsteiner were among the four curlers axed from the national High Performance Program, which was setting up a new curling training camp.[5] In response, Shuster created a new rink known as "The Rejects", made up of himself, Landsteiner, fellow combine reject Matt Hamilton, and Tyler George, a longtime world-class curler (and friend of Shuster's) who hadn't attended the combine due to his work.[5] Shuster's new rink won the 2015 national championship, defeating both High Performance Program teams, and then represented the United States at the 2015 Ford World Men's Curling Championship, again losing in a tie breaker match and settling for fifth place. As a result of its success, the entire Shuster rink was added to the High Performance Program for 2016.[5] At the 2016 World Men's Curling Championship, Shuster's rink won a bronze medal. Shuster's rink then added Joe Polo, a former teammate of Shuster and George with the Pete Fenson rink, as alternate and won both the 2017 national championship and the 2017 United States Olympic Curling Trials, thus setting up Shuster's fourth straight Olympic appearance and third straight one as U.S. team skip.[5] The team played in the 2017 Ford World Men's Curling Championship, where they lost in the bronze medal game against Team Switzerland, skipped by Peter de Cruz.

In the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the U.S. rink lost four of its first six matches and needed to win all of its three remaining matches to qualify for the four-team medal round, but all of its remaining opponents (Canada, Switzerland, and Great Britain) were currently among those top four teams. Nevertheless, the U.S.A. rink won all three matches to qualify for the playoffs, then defeated defending Olympic champion and reigning world champion Canada in the semifinals to reach the gold-medal match versus Niklas Edin's rink representing Sweden. The gold-medal game was a nail biter through 7 ends, with the score tied 5-5. In the 8th end, Shuster executed a double takeout with the hammer (the last throw), giving Team USA a 5-point end and setting up a decisive victory, 10-7, to win the gold medal. [6][5][7]

Post-Olympics

Tyler George left the team after the 2017-18 season and was replaced by Chris Plys. The team represented the United States at the second leg of the 2018-19 Curling World Cup in Omaha, Nebraska, where they beat Niklas Edin in the final in a re-match of the Olympic gold medal match. The team won the 2019 United States Men's Curling Championship and represented the United States at the 2019 World Men's Curling Championship, where they were knocked out in the quarterfinals.

Mixed Doubles

Shuster competes in mixed doubles curling with Cory Christensen. The pair finished in second place at the 2017 United States Mixed Doubles Curling Olympic Trials and earned a national championship in 2019.[8] At the 2019 World Championship Shuster and Christensen finished the round robin tied for first in their group with a record of 6-1.[9] They later lost to Canada in the semifinals but defeated the Australian team of Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill for the bronze medal.[10]

Personal life

Shuster is married to Sara Shuster, and has two children. He is employed as a "Team USA Sales Associate" for Dick's Sporting Goods.[11] He lives in Superior, Wisconsin.[12]

Grand Slam record

Key
C Champion
F Lost in Final
SF Lost in Semifinal
QF Lost in Quarterfinals
R16 Lost in the round of 16
Q Did not advance to playoffs
T2 Played in Tier 2 event
DNP Did not participate in event
N/A Not a Grand Slam event that season
Event 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
Elite 10 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A DNP DNP DNP Q DNP N/A
Masters Q DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Q DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Q Q QF Q
Tour Challenge N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A SF Q QF QF QF
The National DNP DNP Q DNP DNP DNP Q DNP DNP DNP DNP Q Q Q DNP DNP
Canadian Open DNP DNP Q DNP DNP DNP Q DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Q QF Q DNP
Players' DNP QF QF DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Q DNP Q DNP
Champions Cup N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Q Q DNP DNP

Teams

SeasonSkipThirdSecondLeadEvents
2002–03Pete FensonEric FensonShawn RojeskiJohn Shuster2003 WCC, USNCC
2003–04Pete FensonEric FensonShawn RojeskiJohn Shuster2003 Cont.
2004–05Pete FensonShawn RojeskiJoe PoloJohn Shuster2005 USOCT/USNCC, WCC
2005–06Pete FensonShawn RojeskiJoe PoloJohn Shuster2006 USNCC, OG, WCC
2006–07Pete FensonShawn RojeskiJoe PoloJohn Shuster
John ShusterJeff IsaacsonChris PlysShane McKinley2007 Univ.
2007–08John ShusterJeff IsaacsonChris PlysShane McKinley
2008–09John ShusterJason SmithJeff IsaacsonJohn Benton2009 USNCC/2010 USOCT, 2009 WCC
2009–10John ShusterJason SmithJeff IsaacsonJohn Benton2010 OG
2010–11Craig BrownJohn ShusterGreg JohnsonDerrick Casper2011 USNCC
2011–12John ShusterZach JacobsonJared ZezelJohn Landsteiner2012 USNCC
2012–13John ShusterJeff IsaacsonJared ZezelJohn Landsteiner2013 USNCC
2013–14John ShusterJeff IsaacsonJared ZezelJohn Landsteiner2013 USOCT, 2014 USNCC, 2014 OG
2014–15John ShusterTyler GeorgeMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner2015 USNCC, 2015 WCC
2015–16John ShusterTyler GeorgeMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner2016 USNCC, 2016 WCC
2016–17John ShusterTyler GeorgeMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner2017 USNCC, 2017 WCC
2017–18John ShusterTyler GeorgeMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner2017 USOCT, 2018 OG
2018–19John ShusterChris PlysMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner2019 USNCC, 2019 WCC
2019–20John ShusterChris PlysMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner

References

  1. John Shuster Team USA.
  2. "Torino 2006 – Results, Curling"cbc.ca (Retrieved on March 21, 2008)
  3. Jones, Jennifer (February 12, 2010). "Skip's demotion is highly unusual". Yahoo! Sports.
  4. "Field set for 2014 US Olympic Team Trials". USA Curling. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  5. Peters, Justin (February 22, 2018). "Somebody Needs to Make a Movie About John Shuster and His Ragtag Team of Curling Rejects". Slate Magazine. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  6. Estes, Gentry (February 23, 2018). "Morning Coffee: To John Shuster of USA Curling: I'm sorry for doubting you". Louisville Courier-Journal. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  7. Hendricks, Maggie (February 28, 2018). "Olympic curler John Shuster on the mantra that brought his team back from brink of elimination". USA Today. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  8. "Curling: Shuster, Christensen win national title". Duluth News Tribune. 2019-03-03. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  9. "World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship: Round-Robin". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  10. "Curling: Team USA wins mixed bronze". Duluth News Tribune. 2019-04-27. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  11. 2017 Ford Worlds Media Guide: Team USA
  12. 2019 Continental Cup Media Guide: Team Shuster
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