Every four years, millions of Olympic spectators around the world are captivated by the men and women strategically sliding 44-pound curling stones across a slab of ice towards a giant bull’s-eye known as the “House”. With teammates enthusiastically sweeping his way to affect speed and direction.
In fact, 7.5 million people watched the men’s gold medal match at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, where the US team beat Sweden in spectacular fashion to claim the States’ first-ever gold medal. – United in this sport.
Ahead of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, Team USA athletes will get a different look thanks to Columbia Sportswear, which is today welcomed as a new multi-year sponsorship of USA Curling. Columbia will work closely with the USA Curling Men’s, Women’s, Junior and Wheelchair National Teams as they train and compete around the world in preparation for the upcoming Winter Games.
“The level of support and commitment from Columbia is fantastic,” said Jeff Plush, CEO of USA Curling. “Frankly, this is going to be transformational for our organization. Partnering with an American company that has such a commitment to performance but also the quality of its product is fantastic for us and will bear a lot of fruit for us over the next few years. “
Team USA will launch its new competition uniforms on Curling Night in America, a tournament featuring the United States, Denmark, Germany and Canada, airs on NBC Sports Network starting Sunday, September 19.
“We see this as an opportunity to bring a lot of our great innovations to the team and show them off on the ice, whether it’s tech to keep people warm or keep them cooler. feel comfortable, ”said Joe Boyle, president of the Columbia brand. “We have a unique outdoor product technology proposition that we believe can be truly unique to what the curling team can use, and we look forward to launching a unique technology with the team over the next year. next year and hope to have the Beijing Olympics. “
Popular in Canada and across Europe, interest and popularity in curling grew exponentially in the United States following Team America’s success at the 2018 Winter Olympics. in the round robin game against Great Britain and Switzerland, Team USA won the third seed in the men’s four-team semi-final. The Americans toppled reigning gold medalists Canada 5-3 before beating Sweden 10-7 for gold.
As a result, the viewership of the USA Curling National Championships web feed has increased 316% year over year as curling clubs appear in cities from Orlando to Los Angeles, Austin, Texas and everywhere in between. USA Curling oversees 200 clubs across the country.
“There is no doubt that there is an appetite for our sport,” said Plush. “It’s our job and our responsibility and, frankly, the opportunity to make it more visible every year, not just during an Olympic year, and people like Columbia are helping us do that. It really changes the way people perceive our sport, see our organization and see these athletes. It’s very exciting for us.
Team USA Skip John shuster, whose spectacular double exit in the eighth end of the gold medal game helped turn the tide against Sweden in 2018, is excited about the support of a brand like Columbia.
Like any other sport, curlers require certain features and characteristics of clothing for optimal performance on the ice. Shuster said pants that are four-way stretch and neither too thick nor too thin are essential, while having moisture-wicking tops are also necessary to stay cool, calm and serene, especially on a global stage like Olympic Games.
“They’re trying to make sure they get everything to the absolute best spec for us for performance on the ice,” said Shuster, who won bronze at the 2006 Turin Games. “Seeing the commitment they put into this is unlike anything I’ve seen in my career, and it’s kind of a long career. I’m really excited to be working with a company with this level of commitment to athletes.
“… In addition to being able to perform there, we want to put our sport in its best light whenever we have the opportunity to be in the spotlight. “
While the U.S. curling teams know what to wear in Beijing next winter, it remains to be seen who exactly will wear the new Columbia Sportswear gear. The Olympic Curling Trials in the United States will take place November 12-21 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Team Shuster, made up of John Shuster, Chris Plys, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner, will be one of six teams vying for the only coveted spot to represent the United States at the Olympics on the men’s side, with the Team Dropkin (Korey Dropkin, Joe Polo, Mark Fenner, Tom Howell, Alex Fenson), Team Brundidge (Jed Brundidge, Evan Workin, Cameron Rittenour, Lance Wheeler, Nic Wagner), Team Ruohonen (Rich Ruohonen, Andrew Stopera , Colin Hufman, Kroy Nernberger and Phil Tilker) and two more to be determined via the Trials Qualifying Series.
On the women’s side, the teams qualified to date are: Team Peterson (Tabitha Peterson, Nina Roth, Tara Peterson, Becca Hamilton, Aileen Geving), Team Christensen (Cory Christensen, Sarah Anderson, Vicky Persinger, Taylor Anderson), Team Sinclair (Jamie Sinclair, Monica Walker, Cora Farrell, Elizabeth Cousins) and Team Bear (Madison Bear, Annmarie Dubberstein, Taylor Drees, Allison Howell).
The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held February 4-20, 2022 in Beijing, China.
“We’ve built our national program over the past eight years to have athletes ready to perform on the biggest stage, and our result (in 2018) was exactly the result of that,” said Shuster. “I hope our team can go and perform the way we need to get back to the Olympics. … With the work our national team has done since our gold medal, any team that makes it to the Olympics will be there and have the chance to do so. Every team that Team USA sends has a chance to get back on the podium. “