OQE 2013: USA men qualify for Sochi 2014
December 15, 2013
USA secured the last available place in the men's curling competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games when they beat the Czech Republic by 8-5 in Sunday afternoon's second men’s play-off at the World Curling Federation's Olympic Qualification Event in Fuessen, Germany.
To reach this game, the USA had beaten Korea in a tie-breaker while the Czech Republic had lost out in the first play-off game to Germany, who also qualified for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
USA opened the scoring in the second end, when they stole a single point. The Czechs then responded with a score of two points in the third end when their skip Jiri Snitil drew into the house.
USA blanked the next end and took one point to level the score at 2-2 in the fifth end, although it could have been two points had their skip, John Shuster, not wrecked on a guard with his last stone.
It was now the Czech Republic's turn to blank an end, which they did in the sixth end, and this tactic looked like it might pay off in the seventh end as they looked to score two points. Snitil's last draw was just too wide however and the Czechs had to settle for one point and a 3-2 lead.
The game turned completely in the eighth end. USA had built up a collection of stones in this end and when Snitil's attempted promote of a guard didn't come off, Shuster had the simplest of draws to score a game-changing five points for a 7-3 lead.
The Czech Republic fought back with a draw for two points in the ninth end. Eventually in the tenth end, Shuster hit and stayed on a Czech stone at the back of the house to score one point, win the game by 8-5 and qualify the USA for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
John Shuster’s USA team comprised of John Landsteiner as lead, Jared Zezel as second, Jeff Isaacson as third and they were supported by alternate Craig Brown and coach Tim Muller.
After his win, USA skip John Shuster said: "I was extremely happy to win the (USA) Olympic Trials, but to come here and win this and to finally say we’re Sochi bound is pretty special. We’re going to enjoy this for a day or two and then get ready for Sochi."
"This team is the hardest working team I’ve ever played on. These guys work their tails off and they’re some of the best in the business. I’m extremely proud of how well our team has played the entire season and especially here when we had our backs against the wall."
This will be a third Olympic Games for Shuster and about that, he said: "Most people dream of getting to one Olympics. Being able to be on the teams that I’ve been on over the years that give me these opportunities, I’m just extremely grateful."
RESULTS & STANDINGS
Men’s Second Play-off: USA 8, Czech Republic 5
Men’s Final Standings:
1. Germany (Qualified for Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games)
2. USA (Qualified for Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games)
3. Czech Republic
5. New Zealand
Sunday, December 15, 2013
(all times CET)
Women’s Final play-off: Japan v Norway 16:30 (winner qualifies for Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games)
Extensive televised coverage of the Olympic Qualification 2013 from Fuessen can be seen by viewers in Japan on NHK’s channel and digital media platforms. All Chinese games will be televised by China’s CCTV sport. Live coverage will also be available via the internet on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV. www.youtube.com/user/WorldCurlingTV
Event website: www.sochi2014.curlingevents.com/oqe for further information, schedules of play, full team line ups and results and more information about the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Event Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldcurlingfederation
Twitter Hashtags: #oqe2013 #curling
NOTE: The eight men's and women's nations already qualified for Sochi 2014 are (in ranking order): www.sochi2014.curlingevents.com/olympics/olympic-qualification
Men: Canada, Sweden, Great Britain (Scotland's world championship points are used for qualification purposes), Norway, Denmark, China, Switzerland, Germany, USA and Russia (as host).
Women: Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain (Scotland's world championship points are used for qualification purposes), Canada, USA, Denmark, Korea, China and Russia (as host).
Member Associations qualifying teams for the World Curling Federation Men’s and Women’s World Curling Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be eligible to take part in the WCF Olympic Qualification Event in 2017.