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Curling

Learn about this Winter Olympic sport

January 10, 2014
DANIEL KOPATSCH—BONGARTS/GETTY IMAGES

 

The sport of curling dates back to 1541, in Scotland. It is similar to playing shuffleboard on ice. Curling was featured in the first Olympic Winter Games held at Chamonix, France, in 1924. But curling was not played again in the Olympics until it became an official Olympic sport at the 1998 Nagano Games. Both men's and women's curling tournaments are Olympic events.

The Rules of the Game

At the Games, curling tournaments each begin with 10 teams. Four people make up each team; two teams compete against each other. The game is played with 16 large granite stones—8 for each team. Each stone weighs 42 pounds. The object for each team is to put a spin, or "curl," on their stones to get them to land as close to the center of a target, called a "house," as possible. Players take turns pushing on the stones across the ice with a curling broom (each player controls two stones). Team members sweep the ice in front of each stone to control its direction.

A curling game consists of 10 "ends," which are like innings in baseball. Only one team can earn a score at the conclusion of each end. An end is complete when all 16 stones have been delivered. The team with the stone closest to the center of the house scores a point for every stone in the house that is closer to the center of the house than the opposing team's closest stone. The team with the most points after 10 ends wins the game.

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