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Olympic curler John Shuster prepares for his 5th winter games

Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 18:46:22-05

A veteran at claiming gold, Minnesota native John Shuster is preparing for his fifth winter games.

"There's not a lot of Olympians that make it there five times, and I wasn't crazy young on my first one. I was 23, but oh my gosh," says Team USA curler Shuster. "In curling, honestly, you kinda hit your prime in your 30s generally, so I'm maybe at the tail end part of my prime, but I'm going to see if the 40s can be my prime too."

It's not a secret that the games in Beijing will be different from any other Shuster has experienced with COVID-19 still casting a shadow over the Olympics.

"Obviously it's going to be hard having our families back at home and not over at the Olympics with us. However, we got a taste of a bubble last year for the World Championships. We got to see what that would be like on an island but at a competition, and we performed well," says Shuster.

But for Shuster, daily testing and no fans in the venues won't be the biggest challenge.

"The challenges are going to be the competition, because this is going to be the toughest field ever assembled at the Olympics. That's going to be our biggest challenge is going there and play our game and make a ton of shots and see where we match up," says Shuster.

That said, the pressure that some may think comes with going for gold is non-existent with this veteran curler.

"I don't feel any pressure right now. Everyone thinks you're going to defend that that has to be a lot of pressure. Well, we could never win another game and I'm still an Olympic Champion. So going back is just kind of a cool thing," he said.

Shuster will be joined by Wisconsin native Matt Hamilton on the men's team for the second consecutive games. Together they both look forward to what Shuster considers the ultimate prize.

"It's just fun sharing our sport with the world in all honesty and seeing curling clubs popping up in major metros. I've always loved our sports and thought it's giving me some tremendous gifts. Seeing someone new try it and find what I've found and our team has found in the sport is the greatest thing that I think I can be a part of and it's been an honor," says Shuster.

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