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U.S. women’s curling team earns first world championship medal in 15 years

Tabitha Peterson

Vice Skip Tabitha Peterson, of Team Roth, throws as teams compete in the women’s division of the 2017 USA Curling National Championships at Xfinity Arena, in Everett, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. The 8-day event begins with round-robin pool plan and end with the finals on Sunday. (GENNA MARTIN, (Photo by GENNA MARTIN/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Hearst Newspapers via Getty Imag

The U.S. women’s curling team rallied to earn bronze at the world championship, its first medal at a worlds since 2006.

The U.S., skipped by PyeongChang Olympian Tabitha Peterson, beat the Olympic champion team from Sweden 9-5 in the bronze-medal game on Sunday in Calgary. Russia and Switzerland play later Sunday in the gold-medal game.

Peterson, along with Olympic teammates Nina Roth and Becca Hamilton, younger sister Tara Peterson and alternate Aileen Geving, completed a remarkable run through the 10-day tournament. The U.S entered ranked eighth in the world.

The Americans lost their first two games in the round-robin portion of the event where all 14 teams play each other. Then they won four in a row, They lost their last two round-robin matches, finishing 7-6, but got into the six-team playoffs on a tiebreaker when Switzerland beat Germany in the penultimate slate of games.

In their first playoff game, the U.S. slipped by Denmark 8-7 on a last-rock draw to the button.

The Americans lost their semifinal to the defending champion Swiss 7-3 on Saturday and trailed 4-2 through six ends of Sunday’s bronze-medal game.

But the U.S. scored five in the seventh, reminiscent of the U.S. men scoring five in the eighth end of the 2018 Olympic final against Sweden.

The U.S. women finished fifth at worlds in 2017, fourth in 2018 and seventh in 2019. They traveled to the March 2020 Worlds before they were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, two days before they were to start.

Both the U.S. men and U.S. women qualified quota spots for the 2022 Olympics. At men’s worlds last month, the U.S., skipped by Olympic gold medalist John Shuster, qualified third into the playoffs and lost its first-round playoff game with a semifinal spot at stake.

The teams that will represent that U.S. at the Olympics will be determined at trials this autumn.

The mixed doubles world championship, the first of two events where nations can qualify Olympic quota spots, is May 17-23 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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