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U.S. wins first mixed doubles curling world championship

Korey Dropkin, Cory Thiesse

World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2023, Gangneung, Korea.

Korey Dropkin and Cory Thiesse delivered the U.S. its first world title in mixed doubles curling and ended the nation’s 20-year world title drought across the sport’s three Olympic events.

Dropkin, 27, and Thiesse (née Christensen), 28, beat Japan 8-2 in Saturday’s final in Gangneung, South Korea, at the same venue where John Shuster skipped the U.S. to its first Olympic curling title in 2018.

Dropkin and Thiesse were 7-2 in round-robin play, then won all three playoff games, including over traditional curling powers Scotland and Canada on Friday to reach the final.

The U.S. made the podium for the third time ever at an annual mixed doubles worlds, which debuted in 2008, after bronzes in 2016 and 2019. Mixed doubles was added to the Olympic program for the 2018 PyeongChang Games.

The last time U.S. curlers won a world title in an Olympic event was in 2003, when Debbie McCormick skipped the victorious women’s team.

Dropkin and Thiesse’s win also meant that the U.S. became the fourth country to win world titles in all three Olympic events (men’s, women’s, mixed doubles) after Switzerland, Scotland and Sweden. Canada has never won a world title in mixed doubles.

Dropkin and Thiesse skipped men’s and women’s teams, respectively, that lost in the most recent Olympic Trials finals. Thiesse was an unused alternate on the 2018 Olympic team. Dropkin could unseat the 40-year-old Shuster in this Olympic cycle as the top U.S. men’s skip.

Also Saturday, Norway beat Canada for bronze, giving that nation a 54th medal in world championships in Winter Olympic program events this season. Its record for medals at a single edition of a Winter Olympics is 39.

Since its last world title in 2018, Canadian men’s, women’s and mixed doubles teams have won eight medals at world championships -- all silver or bronze.

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