Big stones, brooms and long sheets of ice: the essential components to the unique sport of curling.
Much like chess, curling is a game of strategy and precision. Two teams battle for the most accurate position of stones on their opponent's houses. The intricacy of the game is unmatched and for that reason, the sport has prevailed.
Learn more about curling’s origins and many other fun facts below.
A snapshot of history: What is curling?
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Curling sprouted from Scotland back in the 16th century. The sport started with stones, weighing in at 44-pounds each, that were designed from granite and mined from specific quarries in the Northern UK region. Once they combined the stones with ice, rules and teams, the sport was born.
The pastime eventually entered Canada and the United States as a popular “country club” sport, often pairing with tennis or golf.
As John Shuster, Team USA captain, calls it, “chess on ice,” consists of two teams, four players per team, on a rectangular surface. The ice is 42.07m long and 4.28m wide and there are targets on each end of the rink. And interestingly enough, the ice is not solely smooth. There are miniscule water droplets that are placed and frozen to create “pebbled ice,” to help with the stone’s grip.
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Why is it called curling?
The name “curling” derives from the stone’s trajectory as it turns at the end of its path on the ice. The actual term “curl” means the amount the stone bends while traveling down the ice, which is one instance of lingo used on the rink. “Drawing weight” is another term and it is used to express the momentum required for a stone to reach the circles (known as “houses”) on the opponent’s side.
How many players are on a curling team?
The team consists of a lead player, who delivers the first two stones, a second, who plays the third and fourth stones, a third, who plays the fifth and sixth stones, and a fourth, who plays the last two stones. Similar to shuffleboard, the aim of the sport is to slide the stones to proper targets on the ice.
Cool, huh? No wonder the sport has become mainstream through the interest of prominent pro athletes.
What are the best curling teams at the 2022 Winter Olympics?
Based on results from PyeongChang, it’s safe to say that the countries we should look out for this year are Sweden, Canada and the U.S.. Those three nations received a gold medal during the games.
Other contenders to keep an eye on are Switzerland, South Korea, Japan and Norway, as each received either a silver or bronze medal in 2018.