Even though it is recognized as an official Winter Olympic sport, Curling is still a bit obscure and unfamiliar to many sports fans these days. So, what is curling and how is this game played? Probably these questions come to your mind right now. Now, if you are one of the many who is interested in this game, stay with us, as we will provide you with a beginner’s guide to Curling.
What Is Curling?
In simple words, Curling is a type of sport played on ice, where players have to slide granite rocks down the ice field. As these rocks travel towards their goal destination, they will usually stray from their path, or “curl” during play. This is why the sport is called curling in the first place.
Origins Of The Sport
This unique, interesting game first came into existence in Northern Europe, on the frozen lakes and ponds of Sweden, Norway, Finland, as well as Scotland. During a match of curling, two teams, which consist of four members, will slide heavy granite rocks across a sheet of ice, whose dimensions are 130′ x 15′. These granite rocks will travel down the icy surface towards the center target, which is somewhat similar to the archery center target. These designated target areas are painted with various colors below the ice surface on both ends, in order to allow to rocks to be played back and forth all throughout a competition.
The Fundamental Rules
Every game of curling consists of 16 granite rocks being thrown. Once all of them have been thrown, a score is tallied. A team scores one point for each rock that reaches the center of the target or is determined to be the closest to it. Strategy-wise, curling is fairly similar to baseball, as only one team can score a point during a single play. Among some interesting features, the most interesting one is perhaps the inclusion and importance of sweeping. The purpose of sweeping the ice is to basically brush it at a breakneck pace, so as to keep the rock moving and on target. This way, a player ensures that the ice is perfectly polished and that the rock travels in a straight line.
A Staple Of The Winter Olympics
Now, if you are wondering when did curling become an olympic sport, it was first introduced in 1924 but did not become an official Olympic game until 1988. Despite lacking the mass appeal of other types of sports, the public awareness of curling has been on a steady rise the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, which took place in Salt Lake City. A large number of cable television providers broadcast the curling event, and, as a result, many sports aficionados were drawn to the uniqueness of this game. In fact, the curling event of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which were held in Sochi, Russia, was one of the most popular and exciting ones. Therefore, if you get the opportunity to visit the next Winter Olympic games, try not to skip on the beauties and intricacies curling has to offer.
Worldwide Recognition & Popularity
Even though curling is one of the less known Olympic sports, it is still popular and played in more than 20 countries. The largest concentration of curling teams and players is found in Canada, Scotland and the United States. Since curling is usually played indoors, sports fans who prefer to be protected from the forces of nature while enjoying a game or an event mostly favor it.