A Gold Medal & New Faces
Early Saturday morning, local curlers gathered to support Team USA in its quest to capture Olympic history.
Inside the Mankato Curling Club (MCC), dozens of supporters eagerly awaited the gold medal match between the Americans and Sweden.
Before the two teams took to the ice, these fanatics decided to get in a few rounds themselves.
Calling out shots and making the rock go where it needed to be, the passion and excitement continued to build up throughout the night.
With Olympian John Landsteiner representing the community of curling in the area, the exposure from South Korea has provided an opportunity for expansion.
MCC president Mary Maidl said "It's huge, both Mankato and Mapleton are some of the oldest clubs in the nation. We see a lot of growth now with new clubs in the area, but it's just a rejuvenation of the sport in the area. It does, it brings things close to home and it just adds to the excitement."
Just this year, the Mankato Curling Club have added 50 new members, with 30 individuals last night trying the sport for the very first time.
As for the much anticipated match, nervous and tense faces looked on as each throw became more and more important in deciding the outcome.
Sweden struck first but Landsteiner and his team continued to bounce back.
The moment of truth came in the 8th end, when fellow Minnesotan John Shuster delivered the biggest rock of his career, scoring five and solidifying the first gold medal in U.S. Curling history.
With a gold medal coming home and interest gaining throughout sport from the Olympics, the club is excited about the potential turnout of folks who want to give curling a try.
MCC vice president Erik Siefkes said "Being on TV during the Olympics, it just brings that to the forefront. The gold medal, who even knows where that could go. Overall, it's just going to be phenomenal for the sport nationally and locally. We're just super excited for the opportunities that it's going to bring to us."
Before the season gets underway, the club will be hosting one last "Learn to Curl" class on Friday March 2nd from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m.
The Mankato Curling Club will present a three–week beginner's league starting on March 9th. For information on any of its leagues and how to register, you can find visit the clubs website.
- KEYC 12