Inside Olympic Sports: Curling
February 17, 2010 § 2 Comments
Did you ever wonder where this funny little sport came from? Or why curling is considered an Olympic sport, but not shuffleboard or bocce ball? Yea, me too. As odd and awkward as this sport may seem at first glance, I’m proud to say that I got sucked into watching 3 hours of it yesterday while applying for jobs. 3 hours! Willie thought mommy was nuts and eventually gave up trying to play with me and went to sleep in his crate, (yes!). But in all honesty, there’s just something train wreck-ish about this sport that makes you unable to stop watching; and no it’s not only because of the Norwegian men’s sexy team pants. In fact, I’m currently watching the USA women curl-off (?) against the German women in an all out crazy curl match. So let’s break down this elusive sport, shall we, so that you too can enjoy the crazy curling antics.
Two teams of four players take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones down the ice towards the house (a circular target marked on the ice). The purpose is to complete each end (round) with their team’s stones closer to the center of the house than the other team’s. Two sweepers with brooms or brushes accompany each stone and use stopwatches and their best judgement, along with direction from their teammates, to help direct the stones to their resting place. Each team has 73 minutes to complete a game of 10 ends.
Curling has been an official sport in the Winter Olympic Games since the 1998 Winter Olympics. In February 2006, the International Olympic Committee retroactively decided that the curling competition from the 1924 Winter Olmypics (originally called Semaine des Sports d’Hiver, or International Winter Sports Week) would be considered official Olympic events and no longer be considered demonstration events. Thus, the first Olympic medals in curling, which at the time was played outside, were awarded for the 1924 Winter Games, with the gold medal won by Great Britain and Ireland, two silver medals by Sweden, and the bronze by France. A demonstration tournament was also held during the 1932 Winter Olympic Games between four teams from Canada and four teams from the United States, with Canada winning 12 games to 4.
Cool! Right? No?! Fine. I still think it’s a pretty cool sport and apparently not as easy as you would think! You try pushing one of those brooms consistently for 10 rounds in 73 minutes. Each team has a strict workout regimen, (I’m not kidding). Anyway, if you’re still not a fan, maybe this will change your mind. Ladies, feast your eyes on this hunky German Curling team member. His name is Andreas Lang and me likey.