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U.S. men’s curling team grabs final Olympic spot

U.S. men’s curling team grabs final Olympic spot
U.S. curling team members celebrate after a victory Sunday in Germany that will qualify them for the 2014 Olympics. From left are John Landsteiner, John Shuster, Jared Zezel and Jeff Isaacson.
(Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / Associated Press)

American sports fans can breathe a sigh of relief: The U.S. men’s curling team has qualified for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

John Shuster and his teammates needed a string of clutch victories at an event in Germany over the weekend to grab the last available spot for the Winter Games.

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“The butterflies of winning for an opportunity like this, they never get old,” said Shuster, who won a bronze medal in 2006. “That’s why we play this game.”

All kidding aside, curling has become an Olympic cult favorite over the past decade, as evidenced by strong cable television ratings. San Francisco 49er tight end Vernon Davis served as an honorary team captain at the 2010 Vancouver Games and is planning to reprise that role.

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The U.S. will be represented by a men’s and women’s team in Russia.

Shuster and his rink -- that’s curling for “team” -- needed five consecutive victories, finishing with an 8-5 win over a Czech Republic rink on Sunday. They will be nominated to the U.S. Olympic team pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

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