John Shuster: Olympic curling gold medalist visits Rice Lake

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RICE LAKE, Wis. (WEAU) -- He helped bring home the 1st ever Olympic curling gold medal back to the United States in PyeongChang in February. John Shuster was at the Rice Lake Curling Club last week for a meet and greet. SportScene 13’s Neil Hebert caught up with the gold medalist on how the sport took the nation by storm during the Olympics.

An intriguing sport that’s been emerging onto the national scene for years: stones strategically sliding down a rough sheet of ice looking for the perfect placement.

Curling.

“For me, I grew up in the curling club because my dad played in a recreational league,” Shuster said. “He never curled competitively or anything like that. I didn’t try it until I was 13, so it wasn’t like you have to start when you’re 5 or 6 years old to get good at it like a lot of other sports because you develop more when you’re a little bit older.”

Shuster has been the skip, or the captain, for the U.S. Olympic men’s team since 2006, when the U.S. brought home bronze: the 1st medal in U.S. curling history. Twelve years later, he was golden.

“Winning an Olympic Gold for you country is one of the highest honors you can have as a person along with serving for the military,” Shuster said.

Shuster was born in Minnesota, but he lives in Wisconsin, but which did he win it for?

Neil - "Did you bring the gold back to Wisconsin or Minnesota?"

“I brought the gold back to the United States,” Shuster said with a laugh.

A safe answer from a great professional.

Curling may look simple to the naked eye, but it’s not as easy as it looks.

“I do fitness year-round. There are curling clubs in the Twin Cities that have year-round ice. I try to take May, June and July off from curling to get other things in.”

There are curling clubs in the Chippewa Valley where you can try out a sport that brings people together.

“It takes up 2 hours, you generally play with 3 other friends, play against other people: there’s not a much better sport for making friends and networking.”