Fargo hosting US Olympic team trials for curling
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The top curling teams in the country are in North Dakota competing for a spot in next year’s Winter Olympics.
The U.S. Olympic team trials for curling began Sunday night at Scheels Arena in Fargo and run through the upcoming weekend.
Don Barcome Jr., who got his start in curling in Grand Forks in the late 1960s, threw the ceremonial first stone Sunday night, The Forum reported. The 55-year-old Barcome stopped curling about five years ago, ending a decorated career that included a trip to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“It has been an amazing part of my life,” he said. “It’s just really a flashback for me.”
Five men’s teams and four women’s teams are competing at the trials. The top women’s team gets a trip to the Winter Games in February. The men’s team must go to an Olympic qualifier next month in Germany in hopes of securing one of the two remaining spots in Sochi.
Among the competitors is Stephanie Sambor, a former three-sport athlete at Bismarck High School who gave curling a try on a whim during her senior year. Now 29, she has competed around the world and considers the trials the biggest event of her career, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
“Seriously, I never imagined this,” she said. “I never saw myself in curling. That’s why I’d like to say to local kids in Bismarck and across North Dakota, don’t be afraid to get out and try a different sport that isn’t mainstream or try an artistic program or an activity. Give it a try. You never know where it will take you.”
The U.S. curling championships were held in Scheels Arena in February 2011.