Photos: Curlers compete in team trials for Sochi Olympics

People & Places ·

1 Ice tech team member Matt Proehl warms up a sheet of ice in preparation for brief practice sessions before afternoon play during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. 
2 A variety of activities for fans -- including coloring and face painting -- are on hand at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling. Attendance at the trials as generally been light; however, event organizers expect larger crowds during playoff rounds, which begin Friday afternoon. 
3 A sign directs curling athletes during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., in this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, photograph. Nine teams -- four women and five men -- are competing in Fargo for a chance to qualify for the 2014 Olympics. While the U.S. women are guaranteed a trip to Russia, the men's winner will travel to Germany and need to do well there to secure an Olympic spot. 
4 Members of the ice tech team prepare sheets of ice for games during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Interest and participation in curling has been on the rise over the past decade or so and saw a boost of interest in the United States after Minnesota's Pete Fenson and his team won a bronze metal in 2006. 
5 Athletes compete during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., in this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, photograph. Nine teams -- four women and five men -- are in Fargo competing for a chance to qualify for the 2014 Olympics. While the U.S. women are guaranteed a trip to Russia, the men's winner will travel to Germany and need to do well there to secure an Olympic spot. 
6 Skip Allison Pottinger of Eden Prairie, Minn., watches team members Tabitha Peterson, left, of Eagan, Minn., and Natalie Nicholson, right, of Bemidji, Minn., sweep the rock during U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Pottinger, a 2010 Olympian who got her start in curling at age 11, and her team will compete for the chance to make Team USA for the 2014 Olympics. Team Pottinger will meet Erika Brown and her team in a best-of-3 final beginning Friday afternoon. 
7 Nancy Justus of Eden Prairie, Minn., was among those in attendance at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. "It's fun," said Justus, who travelled to Fargo to visit family and attend the trials. "I'm quite new to it, too." 
8 Team Brown athletes Jessica Schultz, left, of Minneapolis and Ann Swisshelm, right, of Chicago, sweep the rock during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Led by skip Erika Brown, who works in Ontario as a physician assistant, Team Brown will meet Team Pottinger in a best-of-3 final for a chance to represent the United States at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. All four members of Team Brown have competed in past Olympics. 
9 Curlers Rich Ruohonen, left, of Minneapolis and Chris Plys, right, of Duluth, Minn., both of Team George keep a close watch on play during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. The team is led by Tyler George of Duluth and is one of five competing in the trials. The men's winner in Fargo will travel to Germany and need to do well there to secure an Olympic spot. 
10 A bell from the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City accompanied curling fan Nancy Swisshelm of Middletown, Ohio, to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D. Swisshelm is the proud mother of curler Ann Swisshelm, who competed in the 2002 Olympics and is competing in the trials as a member of Team Brown. 
11 Skip Pete Fenson of Bemidji, Minn., watches team members Joe Polo, left, of Bemidji, Minn., and Ryan Brunt of Portage, Wis., sweep during U.S. Olympic Team Trial action at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D. Fenson's team, including three of the current athletes, is the only U.S. Team to win an Olympic curling medal. 
12 Attendance at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D., as generally been light so far. Most of the fans are family members and friends of the athletes or recreational curlers. However, Carmen Delaney of Fargo, N.D., who is seated at right in this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, photograph asks, "How can you not come? These are the best curlers in the United States." Playoff rounds begin Friday afternoon and continue into the weekend.