The U.S. women’s curling team members have been playing together for nearly two years after being grouped by USA Curling’s High Performance Program in 2016. The team, skipped by Nina Roth, is looking to do better than the last two Olympics in which the U.S. finished in last place both times. Although all five players – Roth, lead Becca Hamilton, second Aileen Geving, third Tabitha Peterson and alternate Cory Christensen – are making their Olympic debuts, their recent results, including a fifth place finish at the most recent World Championships, show they are on the rise and could surprise people in PyeongChang.
Here are the members of the U.S. women’s team:
A registered nurse off the ice, Roth is a proven leader both in and outside of curling. She began in the sport when she was 10 years old. After watching her dad play recreationally throughout her childhood, she first got on the ice on a trip with her Girl Scout troop to the McFarland Curling Club.
After watching the 2006 Olympic curling trials in her hometown when she was in high school, Roth knew from then on she wanted to go as far as she could in the sport.
Roth was on the team that won the U.S. National Championships in 2010, making that the first year she would compete in the World Championship. It was around that same time her junior coach convinced her to start skipping her own team.
"I wasn’t really interested in skipping," Roth said. "It was something that my coach recognized I could be good at, and so he had me try it and I fell in love."
Roth and teammate Becca Hamilton began playing together in 2013, and Geving and Peterson joined them three years later.
Fun fact – Outside of curling, Roth looks to tennis superstar Serena Williams as her biggest inspiration. “She's fun to watch. She's not afraid to be a strong competitive woman,” Roth said. “That makes her the perfect role model for young women in sport.”
Hamilton is the only member of the women’s team with some prior Olympic experience, after having played in the mixed doubles event with her brother, Matt, earlier in the PyeongChang games. Now, Hamilton will have to shift gears to being the lead on the women’s team, with another group of teammates she’s also very family with.
Hamilton and Roth both live in Madison, Wisconsin, and will routinely make a 4-hour drive together to Blaine, Minnesota, the only nearby rink in the summer months. It is there where they meet Geving and Peterson to train. The hours and gas have paid off for Hamilton, as she was named US Curling Female Athlete of the Year in 2017.
Hamilton grew up curling with her brother. Now, the Hamiltons will be cheering each other on in the men’s and women’s events.
Hamilton is often considered one of the best sweepers in the sports, and said she enjoys sweeping most because she’s able to help her teammates make their shots.
“It’s more about having a good sense of judgement for the weight,” Hamilton said. “You can either make or break a shot by oversweeping a rock or undersweeping a rock. You’re able to do that. And to actually be an effective sweeper, it’s a lot of cardio. People don’t realize because you have to put pressure on the broom so it’s doing something and then how fast you’re moving the broom is going to control how fast it’s going to go.”
Fun fact – Hamilton grew up playing soccer and lacrosse, but turned her focus to just curling when she started to travel more for the sport.
When Geving was 10 years old, she cried at the end of her first game because she didn’t want to stop playing. And she hasn’t stopped since, eventually competing in two World Championships. She previously competed in three other Olympic trials before finally making it this year with Roth’s rink.
Geving was well-known in the curling world at a young age, and was asked by Erika Brown, an older competitor who skipped the 2014 Olympic team, to play and learn under her. Geving turned it down, though, because she wanted to learn on her own with her young team.
Geving has won four silver and three bronze medals at the U.S. Women’s curling championship.
Fun fact – Geving has a yellow lab named Moose who motivates her to workout. "He goes on runs with me weekly and typically is the pacesetter,” she said. “He’s very fast and strong and can run 5 miles, get home and still want to play fetch. It is great motivation to take him running!”
After just missing the Olympics with a second place finish at the 2014 Trials, Peterson will finally make her Olympic debut this year as a part of Roth’s team.
Peterson began curling at 10 years old after going to the local curling club with her family on a whim. The day made her decide to join a junior league, though she admits at first it was mostly for the snacks at the end of games. Eventually, though, she realized she was good enough to go far in the sport.
Being athletic runs in Peterson’s family. Her brother, Trent, is an amateur golfer, and her sister, Tara, is also a curler. Tabitha actually beat out her sister’s team in the Olympic trials for the spot in Pyeongchang.
Peterson has been curling her entire life while also balancing school and a full-time career as a pharmacist.
Fun fact – Peterson’s dad is a dentist, and would give out toothbrushes and floss on Halloween every year
Christensen will serve as the alternate for Roth’s team after the team she skipped was eliminated in the U.S. Olympic trials round robin stages. This will be the second big event Christensen will serve as alternate for Roth, after also travelling with the team to China for the 2017 World Championships.