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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Allen Elementary second-grader Ella Burnett takes a turn at tabletop curling as fellow second-grader Sophia Jones, left, and Switzerland's Dominik Maerki look on Tuesday at Allen Elementary.

Dominik Maerki has been making the rounds since he returned home to Northwest Arkansas after winning a bronze medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

But the reception the Switzerland curler received at Allen Elementary on Tuesday was special, he said.

"I think that was the biggest crowd so far," said Maerki, who works as a watchmaker in Fayetteville.

Maerki spoke to first- and second-graders in two separate assemblies, sharing stories of his journey to Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he and his Switzerland teammates earned a bronze medal with a third place finish. He showed several photos and videos to the crowd.

Maerki also took questions from each class and even played a version of tabletop curling with a few lucky students from Allen.

"I love talking about the Olympics, the culture, where I'm coming from in Switzerland," Maerki said. "It's a really good group and I'm sure they enjoyed it too."

Maerki shared his journey with the students, detailing how he first began curling in Europe and how he eventually met his future wife, who's from Fayetteville, while in Miami on vacation.

He and his teammates attempted to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but were unsuccessful, he told the elementary students.

"My team and myself, we're really proud to have participated in the Winter Olympics," he said.

Sports on 03/14/2018

Print Headline: Olympic curler enjoys visit to Allen

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