AUSTIN, Texas — When you think of Central Texas, an ice rink is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. An ice rink dedicated specifically to curling is likely even further down the list. Yet, one man wants to change that.
Tyler George retired from his day job — an athlete at the peak of his career — to travel the country and promote the sport of curling.
"The community of curlers around the United States, it's the best people that I've met in any walk of life," he said.
George has settled in Austin for the time being, hoping to bring the sport to the forefront through a company called Curl Austin.
Together, they recently opened the first curling-dedicated space in the state.
Finding a big enough audience for the endeavor may seem like an uphill battle, yet George is the perfect person for the job.
"I was on the 2018 U.S Curling Team at the Olympics that won our country's first-ever gold medal," George said.
"We won five (matches) in a row. Two wins over Canada. The U.S. had never beaten Canada at the Olympics before that ... We did a lot of things that were kind of unprecedented," George said.
The same can be said about bringing curling to Texas.
"There isn't an area that I know of that has fewer dedicated facilities," George said.
And teaching it to a state full of beginners may indeed be just as hard as winning a gold medal.
But George likes a good challenge.
"Curling has gotten to a point now where we're going to make it succeed in the South," he said.
The lessons he learned on the world's biggest athletic stage are now helping him set the stage to grow the game.
"It's less about the accomplishment for yourself, and more about the platform it gives you afterward," George said. "You can win and say, 'Now the sport's going to grow,' and sit back, or you can say, 'Now, I have a platform that I can use to show people why we love the sport as much as we do.'"
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