USA caps off Olympics with curling gold

United States’ curlers Joe Polo, John Landsteiner, Matt Hamilton, Tyler George and John Shuster celebrate their gold medals Saturday during the men’s curling venue ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea. | Associated Press

By Max Calderone | Sports Writer

Team USA finished up its run at the 2018 Winter Olympics with two more medals, moving the country’s total to 23 for this year’s games. The Americans brought home nine gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.

Of the gold medal wins, the United States perhaps rallied most passionately behind the men’s curling team, which won gold after defeating the tournament favorite Sweden 10-7.

The Americans completed a five-point end, a rarity in the sport of curling, to clinch the victory over Sweden. Team Shuster, led by captain John Shuster, was made up of a bunch of self-proclaimed “rejects” because many of the team members had been cut from previous teams.

Shuster said they are no longer rejects now that the Americans are wearing the gold medals around their necks.

“It’s starting to sink in a little bit,” Shuster said in an interview with NBC following the win. “This is pretty darn incredibly special.”

Team USA had to come back from the brink of elimination after losing four of its first six matches.

Kyle Mack claimed the final medal for the Americans in the men’s snowboarding big air competition, where he took silver behind Canada’s Sebastian Toutant. Great Britain’s Billy Morgan won bronze, and two Americans finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

The United States’ performance was highlighted by snowboarder Shaun White‘s gold medal run in the men’s halfpipe. He gave viewers what many considered to be the most emotional moment of the 2018 Olympics, as he embraced his parents at the bottom of the slope after his final score was announced.

Burleson sophomore Blake Boatright said it was amazing to watch White’s triumphant return from not medaling in Sochi, Russia, at the 2014 Olympics and being injured in a scary crash in fall 2017.

“He killed it this year,” Boatright said. “Seeing him come back from a fourth-place finish in 2014 to winning it this year was awesome. His runs in the finals were so fun to watch.”

Team USA was also represented this year by some bright young stars in the action sports world, including 17-year-old snowboarders Red Gerard and Chloe Kim, who both won gold in their respective events.

Sugar Land junior Michelle Dang said she was impressed by the skill of the teenagers all throughout the games.

“I really loved how young some of our best athletes are,” Dang said. “It’s exciting because they’ll have a good two or three more Olympics left in them, which puts the U.S. in a great position to win gold again in those events.”

While some Baylor students watched the Olympics to cheer on American athletes and witness historic moments, others paid close attention to new sports and the fashion of this year’s games.

Shreveport, La., junior Madelyn Greenleaf found an interest in an unlikely winter sport, one that has plenty of speed and nail-biting results.

“I’ve really enjoyed watching the men’s luge,” Greenleaf said. “It’s so fun to watch and I love their outfits.”

Americans will have to wait another four years for the next edition of the Winter Olympics when Beijing will host the 2022 games. The next Summer Olympics will begin on July 24, 2020, in Tokyo.