John Shuster

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John Shuster
John Shuster (26940767387) (cropped).jpg
Born (1982-11-03) November 3, 1982 (age 37)
Team
Curling clubDuluth CC,
Duluth, MN
SkipJohn Shuster
ThirdChris Plys
SecondMatt Hamilton
LeadJohn Landsteiner
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)

John Shuster (/ˈʃstər/; born November 3, 1982) is an American curler from Duluth, Minnesota.[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 eight World Curling Championships (2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).

Curling career[edit]

Pete Fenson rink and 2006 Winter Olympics[edit]

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

2007–2014[edit]

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 team 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 U.S. coaches took the unusual step of replacing him with alternate Chris Plys.[3]

After skipping the 2010 Olympic team to a last place finish, Shuster joined Craig Brown as his third. For the 2010–11 season, Shuster formed his own team again, this time 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 United States Curling Association's 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 game. Thus, Shuster's team 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 team again 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[edit]

Following the U.S. team's Olympic struggles, the United States Curling Association held an athlete combine to determine which curlers to include in their High Performance Program (HPP), aimed at having better success at the next Olympics. Shuster and teammate Landsteiner were two of the athletes dropped from the HPP. In response, Shuster created a new team nicknamed "The Rejects" with Landsteiner at lead, fellow combine reject Matt Hamilton at second, and Tyler George at third, who hadn't attended the combine due to his work.[5] They maintained this line-up for four seasons and found great success. At the National Championships in 2015 they defeated both HPP teams to win the gold medal.[6] Representing the United States at the 2015 World Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Team Shuster missed out on the playoffs when they lost a tiebreaker to Finland's Aku Kauste. As a result of its success, Team Shuster was added to the High Performance Program for 2016.[5]

Shuster came up just short of defending his national title in 2016, losing to Brady Clark in the final. Despite finishing in second, Team Shuster earned enough points throughout the season to secure their return trip to the World Championship.[7] In Basel, Switzerland they defeated Japan's Yusuke Morozumi in the bronze medal match, earning the first World Men's medal for the United States since 2007.[8][9] For the 2016–17 season they added Joe Polo, a former teammate of Shuster and George, as alternate and won the 2017 National Championship. At the 2017 World Championship, their third Worlds in a row, they lost in the bronze medal game against Team Switzerland, skipped by Peter de Cruz.[10]

At the 2017 United States Olympic Curling Trials, Shuster and his team beat Heath McCormick's team in a best-of-three final series, setting up Shuster's fourth straight Olympics appearance.[5] In the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the U.S. team lost four of its first six matches and needed to win all of its three remaining matches to qualify for the playoffs, but all of its remaining opponents (Canada, Switzerland, and Great Britain) were currently among the top four teams. Nevertheless, the U.S. team won all three matches to finish the round-robin in third place with a record of 5–4. In the semifinals they defeated Canada's Kevin Koe, a two-time world champion, to reach the gold-medal match versus Niklas Edin's team representing Sweden. The gold-medal game was close through seven ends, with the score tied 5–5, but the United States scored five in the eighth end to set up a 10–7 victory.[5][11][12] This was the first Olympic gold medal in curling for the United States.

Post-Olympics[edit]

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. Shuster's team was also chosen to represent the United States for the final leg of the Curling World Cup, called the Grand Final, in Beijing. They finished in 6th place.

Shuster defended his United States title at the 2020 United States Men's Championship, defeating Rich Ruohonen in the final to finish the tournament undefeated.[13] The national title would have earned Team Shuster a spot at the final Grand Slam of the season, the Champions Cup,[14] as well as the chance to represent the United States at the 2020 World Men's Curling Championship, but both events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[15] Their Champions Cup qualification will instead carry over to the 2021 Champions Cup.[16]

Mixed Doubles[edit]

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.[17] At the 2019 World Championship Shuster and Christensen finished the round robin tied for first in their group with a record of 6–1.[18] They later lost to Canada in the semifinals but defeated the Australian team of Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill for the bronze medal.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Shuster is married to Sara Shuster, and has two children. He is employed as a "Team USA Sales Associate" for Dick's Sporting Goods.[20] He lives in Superior, Wisconsin.[21]

Grand Slam record[edit]

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 2009–10 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20
Elite 10 N/A N/A N/A N/A DNP DNP DNP Q DNP N/A
Masters Q DNP DNP Q DNP DNP Q Q QF Q
Tour Challenge N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A SF Q QF QF QF
The National DNP DNP Q Q Q Q Q DNP DNP DNP
Canadian Open DNP DNP Q Q DNP Q QF Q DNP DNP
Players' DNP QF QF DNP DNP Q DNP Q DNP N/A
Champions Cup N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Q Q DNP DNP N/A

Teams[edit]

Men's[edit]

Season Skip Third Second Lead Events
2001–02 John Shuster Jeremiah Dotlich Jeff Thune Jesse Gates 2002 USJCC 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
2002–03 Pete Fenson Eric Fenson Shawn Rojeski John Shuster 2003 USMCC 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2003 WMCC (8th)
2003–04 Pete Fenson Eric Fenson Shawn Rojeski John Shuster 2004 USMCC 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
John Shuster Jason Smith Kevin Johnson Shane McKinlay 2004 USJCC 1st place, gold medalist(s)[22]
2004–05 Pete Fenson Shawn Rojeski Joe Polo John Shuster 2005 USMCC/USOCT 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2005 WMCC (6th)
2005–06 Pete Fenson Shawn Rojeski Joe Polo John Shuster 2006 USMCC 1st place, gold medalist(s), OG 3rd place, bronze medalist(s), 2006 WMCC (4th)
2006–07 Pete Fenson Shawn Rojeski Joe Polo John Shuster
John Shuster Jeff Isaacson Chris Plys Shane McKinlay 2007 WUG 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2007–08 John Shuster Jeff Isaacson Chris Plys Shane McKinlay 2008 USMCC (6th)[23]
2008–09 John Shuster Jason Smith Jeff Isaacson John Benton 2009 USMCC/USOCT 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2009 WMCC (5th)
2009–10 John Shuster Jason Smith Jeff Isaacson John Benton 2010 OG (10th)
2010–11 Craig Brown John Shuster Greg Johnson Derrick Casper 2011 USMCC (6th)
2011–12 John Shuster Zach Jacobson Jared Zezel John Landsteiner 2012 USMCC 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
2012–13 John Shuster Jeff Isaacson Jared Zezel John Landsteiner 2013 USMCC 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
2013–14 John Shuster Jeff Isaacson Jared Zezel John Landsteiner 2013 USOCT 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2014 USMCC (5th), 2014 OG (9th)
2014–15 John Shuster Tyler George Matt Hamilton John Landsteiner 2015 USMCC 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2015 WMCC (5th)
2015–16 John Shuster Tyler George Matt Hamilton John Landsteiner 2016 USMCC 2nd place, silver medalist(s), 2016 WMCC 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
2016–17 John Shuster Tyler George Matt Hamilton John Landsteiner 2017 USMCC 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2017 WMCC (4th)
2017–18 John Shuster Tyler George Matt Hamilton John Landsteiner 2017 USOCT 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2018 OG 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2018–19 John Shuster Chris Plys Matt Hamilton John Landsteiner CWC/2 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2019 USMCC 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2019 WMCC (5th), CWC/GF (6th)
2019–20 John Shuster Chris Plys Matt Hamilton John Landsteiner 2020 USMCC 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2020–21[24] John Shuster Chris Plys Matt Hamilton John Landsteiner

Mixed doubles[edit]

Season Male Female Events
2015–16 John Shuster Cory Christensen
2016–17 John Shuster Cory Christensen 2017 USMDOT (2nd), 2017 USMDCC (TB)
2018–19 John Shuster Cory Christensen 2019 USMDCC 1st place, gold medalist(s), 2019 WMDCC 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
2019–20 John Shuster Cory Christensen 2020 USMDCC 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
2020–21[25] John Shuster Cory Christensen

References[edit]

  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. ^ a b c d 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. ^ "2015 USA Men's National Championship – Playoffs". CurlingZone. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Davis, Terry (February 13, 2016). "Team Clark sweeps up national title". USA Curling. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "World Men's Curling Championship 2016: Tournament details". results.worldcurling.org. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  9. ^ Bohnert, Shane (April 10, 2016). "U.S. Men's Curling Team Wins First World Medal In 9 Years". Team USA. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2017". World Curling Federation. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Schneider, Angela (2020-02-15). "John Shuster caps unbeaten run through USA Curling Nationals with win over Rich Ruohonen in final". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  14. ^ "Ruohonen Joins Shuster in Top Page Game". USA Curling. 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  15. ^ "Canadian curling continues to get hammered by novel coronavirus cancellations". The Star. Mar 14, 2020. Retrieved Apr 27, 2020.
  16. ^ "2020 Humpty's Champions Cup teams to keep spots for next season". Grand Slam of Curling. Mar 18, 2020. Retrieved Apr 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "Curling: Shuster, Christensen win national title". Duluth News Tribune. 2019-03-03. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  18. ^ "World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship: Round-Robin". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  19. ^ "Curling: Team USA wins mixed bronze". Duluth News Tribune. 2019-04-27. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  20. ^ 2017 Ford Worlds Media Guide: Team USA
  21. ^ 2019 Continental Cup Media Guide: Team Shuster
  22. ^ "Minnesota teams golden at Junior Nationals". USA Curling. 2004-02-07. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  23. ^ "Field announced for 2008 USA Curling National Championships in Hibbing". USA Curling. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  24. ^ "Team Shuster Returns". USA Curling. May 13, 2020. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  25. ^ "Mixed Doubles Teams Announced". USA Curling. May 20, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.

External links[edit]