Curling is perhaps one of the most unusual sport you shall ever come across, and it competes during the Winter Olympics. This sport is sometimes compared to shuffleboard, but the difference is that it is played on ice. The players – believe it or not, compete between teams by sliding stones on sheets of ice toward a specified area.
There are usually two teams, each with four players, and they take turns sliding the polished and heavy granite stones, or rocks across the ice curling sheets towards what is known as the house.
In this review, we look at the art of curling, and what the game is all about, plus how it is actually played. We shall also go deeper and give you the terminologies used during a curling game, and give you some insights into this very peculiar sport.
The Basics of the Sport
Throwing the Rocks
Curling is played by throwing rocks across the sheet of ice from one side to the house. This is a circular and targeted mark on the ice. You would refer to it as the goal in other games.
Each team starts the game with eight stones, but the players throw two at a time. The purpose of this is to accumulate as many points as possible in order to have the highest score in the game.
Each player usually starts by throwing two stones in each end – end is similar to the inning in a baseball game. Each team must throw 8 stones in each of the ends. The players are required to alternate throwing the stones with opposite numbers to the other players’ on the other team.
This is when a rock curls on the ice. This actually depends on its rotation and how it was intentionally thrown, and the path you have created for the rock.
The path you create for the rock can further be influenced by using two sweepers, either with brushes or brooms, which accompany the stones down the sheet of ice.
“Swiping rock,” as it’s referred to, decreases the friction of the rocks and makes them travel in a straighter way and a much longer distance. A great deal of the team’s play goes into choosing the most ideal path for the stone in each situation.
The points are scored if the stones rest in the area closest to the center of the “house” at the end of each game when all the team members have thrown their stones. The game is usually eight to ten ends.
This is usually after all the 16 rocks have been thrown down the ice, then the score is counted based on the final positions of the stones in the “house.” The group of circles on the ice usually looks like the bull’s eye. In an end, only one team can score. Each team will score one point for each rock that is closest to the center of the house.
The skip is the one who determines the strategy of the rink during the game. He usually stands at one end of the sheet and tells the other players where they should place their shots during the game.
Now, sometimes the strategy doesn’t always go according to plan, and this is part of what makes the sport of curling so much fun. No two games can be the same, and this unpredictability is always extremely appealing to the spectators.
Curling at the Olympics
This sport has been in the Winter Olympic Games since the 1998 Winter Olympics. Currently, the sport includes both men and women, and some mixed double tournaments as well. The mixed double events were first held in 2018.
Since the game was added to the Olympic Games, Canada has always dominated the sport and their men’s team has won gold medals in 2006, 2010, and 2014 as well. They won silver in 2002 and the 1998 Olympics.
The women’s team, on the other hand, won Gold in 1998 as well as 2014 and silver medals in 2010, and also bronze in 2006 and 2002. Their mixed doubles teams won gold medals in the 2018 Olympics.
Now, while this game may seem a little out there, it can be fun for those who compete. We hope that we have enlightened you on what you need to know about the curling game. Next time you are watching the Winter Olympics, you probably will not be too lost in the specifics.