If you were just as obsessed with the Winter Olympics as we were, there’s a high chance that during the 2018 events in Pyeongchang, you switched the channel to watch a load of guys and guys slide across the ice with brooms in their hands. No, this isn’t some form of intense ice cleaning or a new brand of ice dancing called “The Sweeper” – instead, this is a sport called Curling! Considering it’s played on ice, this sport is normally most popular in colder countries such as Scandinavia and Scotland but is also popular among North Americans who want to try out this wacky sport. If you’re a wannabe curler, you might want to check everything you wanted to know about Curling before you get your broom out…
How do you play?
When you think about it, Curling really is just a conglomeration of lots of other different sports. The concept of sliding the stones across the ice is very similar to lawn bowls (with a little ice skating twist), and the inclusion of the target is incredibly similar to archery or darts. Normally, Curling requires two teams of four – two of whom are the designated brushes, while the other two are the sliders. When you have your players in check, it’s then time to get started on the game and use the surface of the ice and the momentum of your body to slide your stones from one end of the ice to the other. You score points when your stones land within the target. The closer you get, the higher the points.
Is it tactical?
In short, Curling is one of the most tactical sports out there. Bet you weren’t expecting that! Although the first member of your team may get their stone on the equivalent of the bullseye, it’s then down to the other teams to try and knock that stone out of the way, while creating blockers for their own stones. However, it’s difficult to really know how to use your tactics until you are in the moment. A competition changes every second, which means that teams have to think up their tactics and maneuvers on the spot.
How long has it been an Olympic sport?
Curling has been around for centuries, but only really entered the worldwide circuit in 1924 when it was classified as a Winter Olympic sport. However, it was largely ignored by fans and the media for much of its career, until there was a surge in popularity in 1998. Since then, fans from around the world have tuned in every so often to watch their favorite teams slide their stones and aim to beat their opponents. In the past few years, Curling has become even more popular as famous teams such as Canada, Great Britain, and Sweden have debuted their skills. In fact, Sweden are currently topping the charts as the best Curling team in the world.
What equipment do you need?
Although it looks like a heck load of fun, Curling does require special equipment that could prove difficult for some people. For starters, you need a Curling rink! These are often quite sparse in many countries, as these places rarely have the space for a 45 m long sheet of ice. Alongside this sheet, those who wish to take up Curling will also need to invest in specialist Curling stones that are made of granite. These can often be pricey and can normally only be bought from specialist stores or online. Alongside this, you will also need Curling shoes. These can be any shoes you want, but they will need specific Curling soles to enable you to walk and slide on the ice at the same time.
Fancy yourself as the next big Curler? Well, take on all this information, and you’re on your way…