John Shuster was arguably Twitter’s least favorite person who wasn’t actively murdering stray dogs during the 2014 Winter Olympics. The skip of the United States Curling team had a brutal time in Sochi, as the Americans went 2-7 for the second straight Olympics with Shuster as the captain. That’s all forgotten now.
Over the past few days, Shuster and his teammates have turned the curling world on its head by winning five straight matches and bringing home an improbable gold medal.
While the United States was clearly the better squad in the gold medal match against Sweden, there was one shot from Shuster that completely upended the match. With the score tied 5-5 in the eighth end, the 35-year-old Minnesota* native uncorked a a remarkable, career-making throw. It netted the U.S. a whopping five points and all but clinched the match.
It was an incredibly difficult double-take-out, and Shuster nailed it.
Check this out:
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 24, 2018
That’s the kind of shot Shuster routinely missed in Sochi, and over these last five matches he’s been perfect on a number of equally difficult throws. With a 10-5 lead, the U.S. basically waited out the Swedes, playing defense and not letting them get points on the board. Sweden finally conceded in the 10th end with a 10-7 final score.
So how big, and shocking was this result? The U.S. was boat-raced by Sweden 10-4 eight days ago. The Americans were 2-4 in the tournament just five days ago, and faced Canada when they woke up that morning. Just so you know, Canada typically curls the way Alabama plays football. Shuster and company shockingly knocked them off 9-7 and the turnaround began.
The U.S. then took out Switzerland 8-4 and absolutely hammered Great Britain 10-4 to finish the round robin portion of the tournament with a 5-4 record. That was good enough to reach the medal round, where the Americans faced the Canadians again.
So, there was no way they could beat Canada twice, right? Wrong. Shuster and company knocked off the two-time defending gold medalists 5-3. Then took care of Sweden in the gold medal match.
To put that run in perspective, in their last three matches, Shuster and company knocked off the silver, bronze and gold medalists from 2014.
While the greatest Olympic upset will always belong to the 1980 U.S. hockey for their win over Russia, what Shuster and company did over those last five matches has to rank among the biggest shockers ever.
Shuster deserves a ton of credit for completely rewriting his Olympic biography over the course of a few days. It was truly special to watch it all unfold.
*An earlier edition of this post said Shuster was a native of Wisconsin, he was actually born in Minnesota. Forgive me, I was typing this all at 4:30 am after watching curling for nearly three hours. My brain was not in peak condition.