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What is Curling? Everything You Need To Know About The Winter Olympic Sport

ByAbigail Penn

Published on Fri Jan 28 2022

|

3 min read

What is Curling? Everything You Need To Know About The Winter Olympic Sport

Whether you’re looking into new sports to try out, or just enjoy watching curling in the Winter Olympics, curling is one of the most interesting sports to participate in! Nicknamed the “chess on ice”, curling is a sport that requires strategic skill and practice.

Curling is believed to of been invented in Scotland during the 16th century. Originally curling was played on frozen ponds in the European winters, by throwing stones across the ice. There are still groups who enjoy playing curling outdoors, but all current professional competitions are held indoors so that the conditions of the ice can be carefully regulated.

What is curling in the Olympics? Curling is a team sport that usually consists of four to five team members and is played on an ice rink. The goal of the sport is to “sweep” or slide large granite stones toward a common target, also known as a “house”.

Continue reading on to learn more about curling and its history, exactly how to participate, rules and scoring, the top Olympic curlers in 2021, and the steps to becoming a professional Olympic curler!

The Sport of Curling

Curling is played on teams with a broom, 44-pound granite stones, and a large target on ice. There are two main types of brooms used while playing: the brush or “push broom” and the Canadian broom. The main difference between the two is the Canadian broom has long bristles, much like a kitchen broom. In curling, the surface of the ice is covered with drops of water, to create pebbled ice. This helps with the stones grip and helps to keep the results relatively consistent.

Curling teams can consist of 2-5 athletes. In mixed double variations, there are two team members, one male and one female. In traditional curling teams, there are typically four team members, five if the team has a substitute. Each team will designate their players into a skip, team captain or vice-skip role.

What Kind Of Shoes Are Used For Curling?

Curlers wear a specific kind of shoe to help them move along the ice and glide at the same speed of the stone. These shoes are very important for both the "delivery" - when a player slides a stone from one end of the sheet to the other - and while "sweeping" - when the players sweep the ice to change the trajectory of a sliding stone.

The shoes worn for curling have a "sliding sole" or a teflon bottom. Sweepers will wear to "slider shoes" so that they can slide with the stone and maintain there balance. A thrower, on the other hand, may wear one sliding shoe and one "gripper shoe" for the foot that pushes off to start the delivery.

How Do You Play A Game Of Curling?

Every curling game is started with a polite handshake and a coinflip to determine which team will go first. About 150 feet down the ice, is the target or house. Each team will take turns pushing eight stones down the ice with a broom or brush. Each team member will push two stones in a row, then a player from the opposing team will play their turn, and so on.

The team with the most stones closest to the target at the end, wins the round! This process of each team alternating throwing eight stones, and scoring, is considered one round or “end”. A typical curling match can have anywhere from six to ten rounds.

How Scoring Works In Curling?

Curling teams can consist of 2-5 athletes. In mixed double variations, there are two team members, one male and one female. In traditional curling teams, there are typically four team members, five if the team has a substitute. Each team will designate their players into a skip, team captain or vice-skip role.

At the end of each round, the team with the most stones closest to or inside the center of the target will win that round. If the winning team has multiple stones closer to the center of the target than the opposing team, they will get a point for each stone.

Steps to Becoming an Olympic Curler

The very first step to beginning any journey is to learn how to do the skill you’re wanting to do! Before you can become an Olympic athlete, you must first be a beginner athlete. Learning how to curl and practicing curling are the most important steps to becoming a professional curler. Curling is not a sport you will typically see on U.S. school teams, so you will more than likely need to seek out and pay to be on a private local team for your age group.

Curling overall can be a mental stimulating, action-packed sport! Curling is a team sport, played with a broom, 44-pound granite stones, and a large target on ice. Originating from Scotland in the 16th century, curling was originally played on frozen ponds by simply just throwing stones.

In competitive curling, the team with the most stones closest to the center of the target wins the round. The team with majority points wins the game.

If you’re interested in pursuing curling in the U.S., check out the USA Curling Website to find a curling club and or training near you!

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