That was the team’s approach to qualify for Sochi.
The Schuster rink — as a curling team is called — won the Olympic Trials in Fargo, N.D., in November, but that did not get them into the Winter Games.
The group had to go to Germany three weeks later for an Olympic Qualifier. The top two of eight teams at that event would get the remaining spots in the Olympic field.
“Pressure? Just getting through, there was pressure,” Landsteiner said. “We knew our chances were good, but everybody was playing for their hopes and dreams.”
The Americans lost their first game and later faced five elimination games in a row before clinching the second Olympic spot.
“I thought we improved game by game, shot by shot,” Landsteiner said.
Landsteiner has been curling longer than he can remember. A lot of Wednesday nights were spent playing at the Heather Curling Club instead of attending religious classes at his church.”
“I missed a lot of catechism,” he said, “but they still confirmed me.”
Nowadays, he’s missing a lot of work, too. He got that job he was looking for, at Duluth’s Lake Superior Consulting. That company has been good about letting him pursue his own Olympic dream.
“They’ve been awesome,” he said.
Folks in Mapleton are excited as well. Landsteiner’s extended family surprised him on Saturday when they all showed up to a Christmas get-together wearing matching red T-shirts that honored his accomplishment. A banner is displayed in the yard outside his parents’ home.
Sweatshirts and T-shirt are being sold as a fundraiser to help send his parents, Cheryl and Steve, to Sochi (for more: www.jak-dtees.com).
Steve Landsteiner, a longtime curler, makes the ice at the Heather Curling Club, and John still has a key to the building.