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OMAHA, Neb. — Curling’s popularity on a national stage has picked up in the recent years following Team USA’s gold medal win at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
A lot of fans in attendance at the 2022 U.S. Olympic Curling Trials in Omaha have been fans for decades. One in particular started curling almost three decades ago and loves to see how the sport has grown in the United States.
“It has been amazing because when I started curling just to get the word out to the press or the public, it was like pulling teeth at first,” said Timothy Jacques from Bellevue, Nebraska. “But when it became an Olympic event, everything just changed.”
Curling clubs are starting to pop up in the Midwest as the popularity for the sport rises. Iowa has the Des Moines Curling Club as well as most states in the region have at least one with a consistent player and fanbase.
A fan from Minnesota was at the trials witnessing Olympic curling for the first time in person. He acknowledged that the increased notoriety of the sport has helped his own home club grow.
“100 percent when they won the gold we saw our club membership increase,” said John Agre from Granger, Minnesota.
There are people both young and old at the trials. Some have played the sport, while others are just coming out for the spectacle. The way curling can be enjoyed by such a wide audience is what’s appealing about it to many.
“It is a lifetime sport like bowling. There are all kinds of adaptations, so you can play it for your entire lifetime. It is not just you have to be as good as Olympians, you can always play,” said Annie Barney from Kansas City, Kansas.