Curling: Persinger, Plys qualify for Olympic mixed doubles
The American duo will join the 10-team field for the mixed doubles competition in Beijing.
Chris Plys of Duluth confirmed his future status as one of the busiest men at the 2022 Winter Olympics when he and teammate Vicky Persinger of Fairbanks, Alaska defeated Russia 6-4 on Thursday in Leeuwarden, Netherlands to guarantee qualification for the mixed doubles curling field for the Games in Beijing, China.
Team USA rolled through the tournament undefeated and never trailed in the winner-take-all match to reach the Games.
“I’m sure that wasn’t the most entertaining game, we played a bit conservative. But we made shots when we had to,” Plys said in a media release from the World Curling Federation.
Plys will also be on the United States men's curling team, which means he will be playing no fewer than 18 games in China, plus potential semifinals and medal matches.
Persinger made a nose hit for a single point to open the scoring, and then the Americans took advantage of a mistake from Russia to steal two in the second end for a 3-0 lead.
The teams exchanged several single points over the middle of the game, but an American miss guaranteed Russia two points in the seventh end and a chance, which they missed, for a third.
With Team USA holding last shot going to the last end and up a point, the Russians missed their final shot, leaving the Americans with a point in the bag and no need to throw their last rock.
“That seventh end was not a good one for me. So, we just tried to put it aside and play the best eighth that we could. We made some shots, and now it feels great,” Persinger said in the World Curling release.
The Americans join Australia, which won the other half of the bracket, in the Olympic field alongside host China, Canada, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
Mixed doubles curling begins before the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games, on Wednesday, Feb. 2.