BLAINE, Minn. — For Becca and Matt Hamilton, the 2018 Winter Olympics just got a little busier.
The Hamilton siblings of McFarland won the USA Curling Mixed Doubles Olympic Trials on Sunday, beating Cory Christensen and John Shuster 6-5 in the final.
The Hamiltons already were qualified for the Olympics in the traditional curling disciplines — Matt with Shuster’s men’s team and Becca with McFarland native Nina Roth’s women’s team.
Now, they’ll represent the U.S. in the inaugural Olympic mixed doubles tournament.
“It’s a dream come true,” Becca Hamilton said in a TV interview. “I grew up playing with him and he’s taught me ... everything I know. To have my coach out there with me, it’s been a surreal experience.”
The mixed doubles event starts Feb. 8, one day before the opening ceremony of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and runs through Feb. 13.
The men’s and women’s tournaments start Feb. 14.
It wasn’t easy for the Hamiltons to get the chance to represent the U.S. in mixed doubles, a competition in which they won the national championship last January.
Christensen and Shuster scored three in the fifth end to take a 4-3 lead, but the Hamiltons responded with two in the sixth and a steal of one in the seventh to go into the final end up 6-4.
That proved critical when Christensen’s last shot in the eighth end, which could have scored three for a victory, instead rolled out of scoring position to score only one.
The Hamiltons started round-robin play with two losses and were facing an 0-3 start before rallying. Down two to Alexandra Carlson and Derrick McLean going into the eighth end of the third draw, they scored two to force an extra end and then won without the last shot.
That started a 7-0 run through the rest of the tournament.
“She’s been clutch,” Matt Hamilton said of his sister. “Whenever she’s needed to come up with a shot, as long as I don’t screw it up sweeping, she’s been making them. She’s turned into such a good curler, and it’s been impressive to watch her grow up and become the superstar she is now.”
Becca Hamilton, at 27 one year younger than her brother, was named the 2017 USA Curling Female Athlete of the Year.