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American curlers, including UND's Joe Polo, win Olympic gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea - The United States delivered a gold-medal knockout punch, scoring five in the eighth end to crush Sweden 10-7 and claim their first ever Olympic men's curling title on Saturday.

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Alternate Joe Polo of the U.S. and his teammates, lead John Landsteiner, second Matt Hamilton, vice-skip Tyler George, and skip John Shuster pose with their gold medals during the victory ceremony. REUTERS/John Sibley

GANGNEUNG, South Korea - The United States delivered a gold-medal knockout punch, scoring five in the eighth end to crush Sweden 10-7 and claim their first ever Olympic men's curling title on Saturday.

With the score deadlocked at 5-5, United States skip John Shuster provided some last-rock magic with a pinpoint double take-out for five that left their Swedish opponents stunned as the Gangneung Curling Centre erupted into chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A!"

Joe Polo, a Bemidji native who attended UND, earned a gold medal as an alternate on the team.

The gold was just the second Olympic curling medal won by the U.S. men, following a bronze at the 2006 Turin Winter Games. Both Schuster and Polo were on that team.

The Americans started the Olympics by losing four of six, but rallied to win the last five.

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They knocked off Canada in the semifinals and top-ranked Sweden in the gold-medal match.

Among those in attendance at the final were Grand Forks natives and former UND women's hockey players Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, who led the U.S. to gold two days earlier in hockey.

It meant more Olympic disappointment for Niklas Edin who had skipped Sweden to world championship titles in 2013 and 2015 and a bronze at the Sochi Olympics but could not grab the one medal to elude him.

The contest got off to a tactical start with the Swedes blanking the first then scoring a pair in the second only to have the U.S. hit right back with a two on another brilliant last-rock shot from Shuster.

The U.S. stole a point in the fourth after a measurement to determine shot stone to take their first lead, 3-2.

The Swedes would not be rattled, answering with two in the fifth as the seesaw battle continued with the U.S. replying with a pair in the sixth and Sweden getting one back in the seventh to leave the teams deadlocked on 5-5 with three ends to play.

After the U.S. scored their five a reeling Sweden chipped two off the deficit in the ninth but there was too much damage to repair and the Swedes finally conceded in the 10th.

Related Topics: 2018 OLYMPICS GFH
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