Olympic Sports >> Curling

Curling

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The Competition

Objective

A team game in which, players slide stones down a narrow lane of ice with the objective of stopping them as close as possible to the target area. Teammates generally sweep the ice in front of the stones to improve accuracy.

2 Events

1 each for men and women

Venue

Vancouver Olympic Centre

Competition dates

February 16-27

The Game

Format

Two teams of four players throw 2 stones each over 10 ends:

Order of play

The lead, the second, the third and the skip, who is the team captain throw in that order against their counterparts from the opposing team.

Scoring

During each round or 'end', only one team can score and points are awarded for each stone that is closest to the target or 'button'. Points are added for each stone between the button and the opposing team's nearest stone. The team with the highest score wins.

The tournament

Ten teams play each other in a round-robin format with points awarded for victories. The top four teams advance to the semi-finals (1st vs 4th - 2nd v 3rd).

Important Dates

  • 16th century : Approximate first dates that curling is played in Scotland.
  • 18th century : Introduction of curling in Canada by Scottish soldiers. The North American country later becomes a stronghold of the sport.
  • 1795 : Elaboration of first rules are made more "contemporary" by members of the Duddingstone Curling Club.
  • 1858 : Final definition of rules are introduced by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.
  • 1924 : Curling appears as a demonstration sport at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix. Curling features at the Games in 1932, 1936, 1964, 1988 and 1992 each time as a demonstration sport.
  • 1959 : The first Scottish Cup takes place and is classed as the world championships. This competition would be renamed "The Silver Broom" from 1968 to 1985.
  • 1979 : The first women's world championships are held and are won by Switzerland.
  • 1986 : First world championships are held, taking over from "The Silver Broom" and are won by Canada.
  • 1988 : Curling is reintroduced as a demonstration sport at the Winter Games in Calgary, the sports first appearance since 1932.
  • 1998 : Curling appears for the first time as an official sport at the Winter Olympics in Nagano. Switzerland and Canada win the men's and women's titles respectively.

Stars

Ernie Richardson (CAN)

The first big name in curling both in Canada and worldwide. With his brother Garnet and cousins Arnold and Wes, he won the Scottish Cup, which was recognised as the world championship, on four occasions, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963.

Ron Northcott (CAN)

Nicknamed "The Owl", he won the Scottish Cup three times (1966, 1968, 1969) and was the world's best skip (captain), during those same three years.

Peter Lindholm (SWE)

The man who broke the Canadian domination since his first world title in 1997. Also won global titles in 2001 and 2004 and is the arch rival of the North Americans.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.