Winter Olympics 2018: USA curling wins historic gold in stunner over Sweden

Heading into the eighth end of Saturday's gold medal game, it looked as if the USA's Team Shuster was in for another nail-biter. During the ninth and 10th, it was just chucking rocks.

It was a nerve-wracking eighth end that concluded in jubilation. 

Sweden had just tied the match in the seventh at 5-5 with a well-placed shot, but it played with fire throughout the eighth. All of that came to a head when skip John Shuster had one shot to knock Sweden off the button for a five-point end. And he nailed it. Heading into the ninth end up 10-5, the Americans would eventually win 10-7 for their first curling gold.

Shuster isn't recognized as the most accurate skip. The U.S. isn't the most accurate team. But damned if it doesn't have heart. At 2-4 with three games left in round-robin, the U.S. got its first ever win over Canada. However, even then it was a long climb to get into the medal rounds. What followed was more than impressive. It was historic. Team Shuster knocked off Switzerland and Great Britain, clinching the third spot. In the semifinals, it beat Canada once again in an expertly played chess match. And finally, it beat Sweden to win gold.

All of these were medal-caliber teams. Switzerland took bronze and, of course, Sweden took silver. Even Canada and Great Britain played "postseasons." Heading into the gold medal game, Team Shuster was guaranteed the best finish in U.S. curling history. The Americans had never captured anything higher than bronze before. But Team Shuster changed all of that.

This may be the most unexpected gold in these Games for the USA. No. Scratch that. It is. You won't see a movie about it. Curling isn't hockey. But this is legitimately "Miracle on Ice" territory in terms of difficulty. Team Shuster rattled off win after win, and time and time again it proved to be just enough after a tough start. You don't see Cinderella wins like this often. So when you do, it's important to recognize them for what they are.

Shuster was ice cold throughout this run. When it came down to it, he was the hammer. He was the one who had to get that last takeout, or the last sit and stay, or just put it on the button. And he kept on doing it. Shuster's shot to end the eighth end will be remembered in the curling world for as long as there is a curling world. To achieve a perfect takeout for a five-point end in that manner is absolutely insane.

USA curling winning gold is a huge deal. It happened in a year in which Canada didn't medal for the first time since curling was reintroduced in 1998. It joins elite U.S. company. Chloe Kim, Shaun White, Mikaela Shiffrin, Red Gerard -- John Shuster. The most unexpected medals of these Games are always the sweetest. That might be why this one just feels so special.

Mr. T is feeling it.

By the way, his Twitter is a curling goldmine, if you want to see someone fall in love with a game.

And here's the throw that gave Team USA gold.

And Team Shuster, of course, is feeling it themselves.

Imagine telling someone on Feb. 1 that John Shuster would be a household name by the end of the month. They would slap you and ask who John Shuster is. Now he's a gold medalist. And Team USA curling didn't just put itself on the map. It conquered the whole damn map before lighting it on fire.

If you're curious, you can see the medal tracker below. For the moment, however, it feels like only one matters.

Medal Tracker
PyeongChang 2018
NOR 14 14 11 39
GER 14 10 7 31
CAN 11 8 10 29
USA 9 8 6 23
NED 8 6 6 20
SWE 7 6 1 14
KOR 5 8 4 17
SUI 5 6 4 15
FRA 5 4 6 15
AUT 5 3 6 14
JPN 4 5 4 13
ITA 3 2 5 10
OAR 2 6 9 17
CZE 2 2 3 7
BLR 2 1 0 3
CHN 1 6 2 9
SVK 1 2 0 3
FIN 1 1 4 6
GBR 1 0 4 5
POL 1 0 1 2
HUN 1 0 0 1
UKR 1 0 0 1
AUS 0 2 1 3
SLO 0 1 1 2
BEL 0 1 0 1
ESP 0 0 2 2
NZL 0 0 2 2
LIE 0 0 1 1
KAZ 0 0 1 1
LAT 0 0 1 1
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