(WWJ) – Curling. It’s perhaps the biggest oddball sport of the Winter Olympics.
It’s also drawing some of the biggest buzz of the 2018 PyeongChang games. While many an American may be unfamiliar with the sport, it has gained a lot of traction during the U.S. Men’s Curling Team’s run to the gold medal game.
After knocking off the three-time defending gold medalists from Canada in the semifinals, Team USA takes on Sweden in the finals Saturday at 1:35 a.m. looking for its first-ever gold medal. Team USA has previously advanced to the medal round just twice, taking fourth place in 1998 and bronze in 2006.
Trying to make history, this underdog team is dubbed “The Rejects.”
Skip (the captain and head strategist) John Shuster, was cast aside by USA Curling after 2014’s last place finish in Sochi and the organization instated heavy reform to improve it’s game, according to a story by Jay Busby of Yahoo! Sports.
Shuster promptly devoted himself to forming a new team — made up of 2014 teammate John Landsteiner, Tyler George and Matt Hamilton — came up with “The Rejects” moniker, and they returned to the top of USA Curling taking the sport it to new heights for the U.S.
All four are just “regular guys,” as Busby explains in his story. One is a liquor store manager, one is an environmental consultant, one’s an R&D specialist, and the other, a Dick’s Sporting Goods store associate. They hang out at a local curling club in Minnesota, and with their down-to-earth, goofy personalities, they have the hearts of Americans on social media.
Curling always seems to captivate Americans for a few days every four years, but the team’s lack of success has typically meant a lack of interest. It will be at an all-time high Friday night. So if you’re up for a late one, stay up and see if this group of “Rejects” can finish it’s journey from regular guys to gold medal. First stone is set to be tossed at 1:35 a.m. Saturday on NBCSN and NBCOlympics.com