Last Wednesday at Baxter Arena, the U.S. Olympic Curling team announced their return to the Omaha rink for the 2021 curling trials. After the last trials in 2017, U.S. skip John Shuster led Team USA to a gold medal. This time, he was asked to speak at the press conference. This was the first gold medal in U.S. Curling history, and as such, a huge victory. Shuster remarked about how well Omaha received the team last time they were here.
“We know from the last time being in town that this city’s going to put on a good show for us,” Shuster said. “This was one of the most world-class events and venues that I’ve ever been a part of.”
Omaha city councilman Pete Festersen also spoke, thanking the curling commission for deciding to come back to Omaha. Being a former curler himself, he expressed how good of an opportunity this was for both parties.
“This is a fun niche,” he said. “And a good niche for us to be in.”
Festersen also noted how great of a turnaround the team pulled off last time, winning them the gold, calling it “one of the biggest comebacks in Olympic history.” Festersen also pointed out that there was a curling ice setup so conference attendees could try the sport.
The final speaker was Mike Kemp, senior associate athletic director of events and facilities. Kemp posed the question of whether Omaha wants to be synonymous with curling. He saidwith Omaha being the host of the College World Series and the Olympic Swim Trials, of course Omaha would want to be synonymous with curling events.
In a later Q&A with individual attendees, Sean Morrison, president of the Aksarben Curling Commission was asked why he thinks Omaha is drawn to curling.
“Well, first off, curling is awesome, so anyone should be drawn to it,” Morrison said.
Morrison also said that as an Omahan, he was excited about the prospect of national and international events of this level being here. He also spoke to the event’s impact on himself, a former curler.
“As a curler, it’s great to just see the best of the best,” Morrison said.