Every four years the sport of curling gains new attention during the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games. The sport is played on ice with two teams of four people sliding large polished granite stones towards a target. It is almost like a giant game of shuffleboard that can last up to ten rounds, or as they are called in curling “ends”. The United States team is seeking their first Paralympic Curling medal, and will be competing against 11 other countries.
The selection process to form the five-person team began at pre-trials in September of 2016. Curlers from all over the country met at The Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minnesota to compete for an invitation to the national tryouts in Wausau, Wisconsin. The final roster was announced in November and the team recently travelled to Utica, New York where they have been training for the Paralympics.
Team USA is made up of three men and two women, some of whom will be competing for the first time in the Paralympic Games. Kirk Black from San Antonio, Texas just started curling a few years ago and has quickly excelled to become one of the best players in the country. He plays the position of “skip”, or captain, who is responsible for determining strategy and throwing the last two stones in each “end”.
The other two men, Justin Marshall and Steven Emt, will also be making their Paralympic debuts. Marshall is the youngest member of the team at 31 years old, but is no stranger to international competition. He has competed in the last three world championships and his team took first place in the past two US Opens. When Justin isn’t curling, he keeps busy at his day job as an Architectural Associate in Wisconsin.
Meghan Lino and Penny Greely are the only two returning members who competed at the 2014 Paralympic games in Sochi. Penny will be seeking her second medal this March, as she was also a part of the sitting volleyball team that won bronze at the 2004 Summer Paralympic games. Meghan Lino started curling in 2009 when she was introduced to the sport at a friend’s charity event in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She loves that curling has allowed her to meet many new friends and given her the opportunity to travel the world.
Good luck to all of the athletes representing the United States at the 2018 Paralympic Games! Follow MobilityWorks on Facebook for news and results from the games starting March 8th, 2018.
Check out the video below for more information on wheelchair curling: