They might be officially first class in the curling world, but they're just another set of coach-class passengers to Delta.
In one of the most surprising Team USA triumphs in the overall mildly disappointing 2018 Winter Olympics, the USA's eminently likable "Team Reject" took home the gold in curling, defeating Sweden on Saturday in a contest so lopsided, Sweden's skip Nikklas Edin threw in a "spin-o-rama" on the second to last stone to lighten his defeated team's mood.
"During the entire end we could kind of feel it building," skip John Shuster told the media in a press conference, alongside fellow "rejects": Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo. "Their margin for error got really small. I can't tell you how un-nervous I was sitting in the hack to throw it. Just let it go."
Basking in the glow of the upset victory, secured by a series of improbable wins, including against Canada (which no USA team had ever defeated), USA Curling tweeted out a humble request to Delta Airlines.
"@Delta our Olympic #curling champions are flying home on Monday. Upgrades?!?" they wrote.
The request was seconded by Coach Phil Drobnick, who tweeted, "Come on @Delta I think #DeltaOne is calling our name for the gold! 5 athletes and 2 coaches!"
But apparently Delta couldn't make the chance at Publicity Gold work out. They responded to USA Curling's request with a bit of disappointing news.
"Hi, there. Congratulations, gold medal champions!" Delta tweeted. "We are honored to be your ride back home! While we don’t have any upgrades to offer, we look forward to seeing you on board. Thanks for flying with us! *AJL."
The team responded with class, writing, "Thank you for the well wishes and checking into it. I’m sure it’ll be a smooth ride home."
USA Curling's ultimately victorious match against Sweden was attended by both First Daughter Ivanka Trump and the King of Sweden.
In its entertaining coverage of the huge victory for "Team Reject," the Chicago Tribune highlights the improbability of the final score:
The score, known as a five-ender, is so rare it has only been topped once before in the history of the men's or women's Olympic final. And it effectively clinched gold for Shuster's erstwhile "rejects," who rallied from the brink of pool play elimination to claim only the second curling medal ever for the United States.
As for Sweden's "spin-o-rama," Edin told reporters he was just trying to lighten things up for himself and the others who were disappointed by their performance.
"When I missed, we knew for sure he was going to make that double, and we knew we were going to lose," said Edin. He threw in the spin on the next throw in hopes that he could accept the silver "without throwing it into the sea." While he said he couldn't quite bring himself to use the term "fun," he was at least trying to give the crowd "a little something back."