Although it’s one of the world’s oldest team sports, curling has only just begun to receive the recognition its supporters believe it deserves.
John Shuster, the first-ever curler to compete in five Olympic Games, was a flag bearer for Team USA as the participants entered the arena at the 2022 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Curling enthusiasts enjoy the sport’s complex dance with stones and brooms, but every four years the sport is presented to a new audience at the Olympics. After all, the object of the game is to steer a block of granite into a bullseye while a player sweeps the ice with a broom.
Curling, often referred to as “chess on ice,” is a fascinating Olympic sport that combines strategy, skill, and teamwork. While it may look simple, curling is a game of nuance that captivates viewers and players alike.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into what curling is, how it’s scored, strategies employed, and even its historical origins. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned curling fan, there’s something here for everyone to learn.
What is Curling in the Olympics?
Curling is an Olympic winter sport where teams slide heavy granite stones across a sheet of ice towards a target, known as the “house.” The objective is to get your team’s stones closer to the center of the house than the opposing team’s stones.
The sport is played between two teams, each typically consisting of four players. It gained Olympic recognition in 1998, and both men’s and women’s events are now regular fixtures in the Winter Games.
How Do You Keep Score in Curling?
In this case, the button represents the centre of the “home” target area. The team who played the shot rock in an end is guaranteed at least one point. The shot rock is the rock closest to the button. (A conclusion can be compared to an inning in baseball.)
Counting it All up
Two points are awarded to the team whose stones are closest to the button. If there are two more stones in the home, you get two points; if there are three, you get three points; and so on until an opponent rock is closer.
This advantage, known as the hammer, is given to the team that throws last in an end. The hammer can be used to smash the opponent’s rock(s) or to aim at the button (a draw) in a variety of different ends.
In the event of a blank end (when all eight stones have been played) the hammer remains in play. To assume that someone erred is not the case. Teams will sometimes purposely blank an end to keep the last-rock advantage in the next one.
Especially as the game nears its final ends and the hammer becomes more valuable than a single point.
Each end in a game of curling is played with eight stones, thrown by four players per end. The highest possible score in Olympic bowling is eight, however there has never been an eight-ender.
(Among other strategies, teams would use a number of stones as guards to prevent the opponent from removing their scoring rocks. Therefore, teams rarely even attempt to house all eight stones.
How is Scoring Done in Curling?
In curling, only one team can score during a single “end” (similar to an inning in baseball). The team with the stone closest to the center of the house scores one point for each of their stones that is closer to the center than the closest stone of the opposing team.
How Do You Win Curling in the Olympics?
A typical curling match in the Olympics consists of ten ends. The team with the highest score at the end of these ten ends is declared the winner. In the event of a tie, extra ends are played to determine the victor.
What is the Winning Score in Curling?
There is no fixed “winning score” in curling. The team with the most points after all ends have been played wins. Scores can vary widely, but games often end with scores around 7-5 or 9-6.
What is the Strategy of Curling?
Curling is a game of immense strategy. Teams must decide whether to play aggressively by attempting to place their stones in scoring positions or defensively by knocking out opponent stones.
Understanding the ice conditions, knowing when to sweep, and anticipating your opponent’s moves are all critical strategic elements.
What is the Highest Score in Curling?
In competitive curling, scoring more than five points in an end is extremely rare. However, it’s theoretically possible to score a maximum of eight points in a single end, although this has never happened in professional or Olympic curling.
How Many Brooms Are in Curling?
Each player uses one broom in curling. The purpose of the broom is to sweep the ice surface in front of the stone as it slides down the ice. Sweeping melts a thin layer of ice, reducing friction and allowing the stone to travel farther and straighter.
How Many Shots are in Curling?
Each team throws eight stones in a single end, making for a total of 16 stones thrown per end. Each player typically throws two stones per end, and the order of throwing is alternated between teams.
Which Country Invented Curling?
Curling originated in Scotland in the early 16th century. The first written records of the sport date back to 1541. It has since spread internationally and has a particularly strong following in Canada, the United States, and Scandinavian countries.
What is the Stone in Curling?
The curling stone, also known as a “rock,” is made of granite and typically weighs between 38 and 44 pounds. The stone has a handle attached to the top, which players grip when delivering the stone down the ice.
Scottish rinks were the first to host curling games in the 16th century. At first, it was played on frozen canals, lochs, and ponds with curling stones. Over time, improvements were made, such as the adoption of a standard stone (38-44 pounds) and the relocation to indoor venues.
Curling was first included in the Olympics in 1924 when males competed, but it wasn’t until 1998 that both men and women could participate. It wasn’t until 2018 that a mixed doubles competition was included.
Curling is a compelling sport that has found its rightful place in the Olympic arena. With its unique blend of strategy, skill, and teamwork, it offers a riveting viewing experience. Understanding the nuances of the game, from scoring and strategy to its history and equipment, adds layers of excitement and appreciation for both new and seasoned fans alike.