US beats Russians 6-5 to open Olympic curling defense

Feb 8, 2022, 5:58 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2022, 8:00 am
U.S. men's curling team's John Shuster chats with a reporter after a news conference at the 2022 Wi...

U.S. men's curling team's John Shuster chats with a reporter after a news conference at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

BEIJING (AP) — The referee came out to measure, and the Russians came away with the game-tying point in the final end of regulation against the Americans — the reigning Olympic curling champions.

It only prolonged the suspense for a few minutes.

John Shuster delivered a routine draw with the final rock in the extra end, and the United States opened their title defense with a 6-5 victory over the Russian Olympic Committee team on Wednesday night at the Ice Cube curling venue.

The Americans would have won it in regulation except for a Russian rock that was just millimeters closer to the center of the scoring target. And the Russians had a chance in the 10th for the two points that would have delivered a regulation victory, but skip Sergei Glukhov’s final shot nicked a guard and slid helplessly to a stop out of the scoring area.

“We got a little fortunate to get have him not make that,” Shuster said. “And then we played a pretty good extra.”

Four years after they survived five straight elimination matches to win gold, the U.S. team remained on course for another strong showing.

With the Americans trailing 4-3 after seven ends, Shuster executed a cheeky split for two to grab the lead. The Russians blanked the ninth end on purpose, retaining the last-rock advantage for the 10th.

Shuster’s last shot in regulation put an American red rock and a Russian yellow one virtually the same distance from the center of the target. The Russians peered over the stones to try to determine if they were in position for the two points that would have given them a regulation victory; even one point would get them to extra ends.

But it was too close to know for sure. They wouldn’t find out until after the end was over — and it could be too late.

“My gut was saying that that it probably wasn’t going to go our way,” Shuster said. “I had a pretty good read on it, and I thought that it was.”

Glukhov attempted to thread a difficult opening with his final throw and nicked one of the guarding stones. Teammate Evgenii Klimov slammed down his brush in frustration.

Then the referee came out, using a device that measures the distance from the center of the target down to the millimeter. As he swung it between the two rocks in question, the dial showed Russia had earned the point and a 5-5 tie.

But Glukhov’s miss would cost them.

In the tiebreaking extra end, the Americans would have the last-rock advantage known as the hammer. Shuster delivered with a routine draw that settled inside Russia’s stone for the victory.

“When you come into the 10th, if you’re one point ahead your goal is to force them into one (point) so you can play the extra end with the hammer,” Shuster said.

In other matches in the opening session of the men’s round-robin, Canada beat Denmark 10-5 in eight ends, Sweden beat China 6-4 and Norway beat Switzerland 7-4.

The women’s tournament begins on Thursday.


More AP Winter Olympics: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. beats the tag by Boston Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki to score on...
Associated Press

Riley’s big night lifts Braves over Red Sox 9-7 in 11

BOSTON (AP) — Austin Riley had a go-ahead, two-run single in the 11th inning and the Atlanta Braves rallied for a 9-7 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. Riley also hit his 30th home run of the season, a towering, two-run shot over the Green Monster, and an RBI triple to help […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Pirates’ Castro has phone fly from back pocket during slide

PHOENIX (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Rodolfo Castro apparently can’t go anywhere without his phone. Called up from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game, Castro slid headfirst into third in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night and had his phone fly out of his back pocket. Third base umpire Adam Hamari […]
21 hours ago
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor (12) celebrates with Jeff McNeil (1) after the team's baseball game...
Associated Press

Lindor, McNeil back Carrasco as streaking Mets beat Reds 6-2

NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil both homered and drove in two runs, leading Carlos Carrasco and the streaking New York Mets past the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 on Tuesday night. Carrasco (13-4) pitched into the seventh inning and struck out nine to win his fifth straight decision and tie for the National […]
21 hours ago
Baltimore Orioles' Anthony Santander gestures after hitting a single against Toronto Blue Jays star...
Associated Press

Orioles rally after rain delay, beat Blue Jays 6-5

BALTIMORE (AP) — Rougned Odor hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night. The Orioles trailed 5-3 in the sixth when the game was delayed 78 minutes because of rain. Then Baltimore cut the lead […]
21 hours ago
Washington Nationals' Keibert Ruiz is congratulated in the dugout after his home run off Chicago Cu...
Associated Press

Meneses hits 2-run HR in 8th as Nationals beat Cubs 6-5

CHICAGO (AP) — Joey Meneses hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, Keibert Ruiz went deep twice and the Washington Nationals regrouped after blowing a three-run lead, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-5 Tuesday night to snap a six-game losing streak. The Nationals were rolling along with a 4-1 lead, thanks to Ruiz’s solo […]
21 hours ago
Houston Astros' Aledmys Diaz celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a grand slam aga...
Associated Press

Diaz hits slam, Astros tag Pérez, rally past Rangers 7-5

HOUSTON (AP) — Aledmys Díaz hit a grand slam as the Houston Astros roughed up Martín Pérez and rallied past the Texas Rangers 7-5 Tuesday night. Pérez (9-3) tied a season high by allowing seven runs in five-plus innings to snap a nine-game winning streak, the longest active string in the majors and the best […]
21 hours ago
US beats Russians 6-5 to open Olympic curling defense