What do you get the country that has (almost) everything? If you’re Matt Hamilton, a win over Canada for the U.S. men’s curling team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang should suffice.
The mustachioed second for the Americans celebrated his 29th birthday in South Korea with sweet greetings from Becca Hamilton, his sister and mixed doubles partner, and an even sweeter Team USA onesie.
Then, Hamilton joined skip John Shuster and lead John Landsteiner at the Gangneung Curling Centre to spring the 9-7 upset on the Canadians, the three-time defending Olympic champs, in 11 ends. Hamilton’s superb sweeping, along with Landsteiner’s, in what turned out to be the final end turned a slow throw from Shuster into a decisive push of Canada’s rock out of the house. The loss was Canada’s third straight following a 4-0 start in these games.
The Americans will need much more than Hamilton’s birthday gift to secure the nation’s second-ever Olympic medal in curling. At 3-4 in Round Robin play, Team USA will need help to sneak into one of four semi-final spots. Even if Hamilton and company take down Switzerland on Tuesday and Great Britain on Thursday, they would still have to leapfrog at least two other teams, with Norway and Japan also standing between the U.S. and a playoff berth.
If the HamFam’s birthday boy can keep his mojo working in PyeongChang, the American men just might find themselves in contention for some curling hardware heading into the final weekend of the Winter Olympics.
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