The mid-2010s were a turbulent time in the world of curling and in the professional career of U.S. skip John Shuster.
After two straight Olympic finishes near the bottom of the table, Shuster was unceremoniously dropped from the national team following the 2014 Winter Games. His next move — forming a team of self-described "rejects" — would ultimately lead to the greatest moment in the history of USA Curling.
But while that was going on, a growing controversy was taking hold. Technology, in the form of a new type of broom, threatened to radically change the centuries-old sport of curling.
Hardline Curling had developed a new broom that made it easier to control the path of the stone, and while many of the early adopters were finding success, many of their opponents began to complain that it was impacting the integrity of the game. The squabble, dubbed "Broomgate," made headlines in Canada and even caught the attention of Americans after Stephen Colbert dedicated an entire segment to it on his late-night show.
Shuster's team went on to win a historic gold medal at PyeongChang 2018, but what ever became of those brooms? The latest episode of The Podium podcast from NBC Sports takes a deeper dive into these two intersecting stories to explain how embracing innovation eventually paid off for both Shuster and Hardline Curling. Listen to the full episode below.
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Season 3 of The Podium is hosted by Lauren Shehadi. Follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes will be released weekly on Tuesdays ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, followed by daily episodes throughout the duration of the Games