Wheelchair Curling

Learn about this Winter Paralympic sport

January 10, 2014


Wheelchair Curling was first introduced in Switzerland in 2000. At the time, Switzerland and Sweden were the only countries trying the sport. Officials decided the game should be played with as much similarity to the regular game as possible. The first World Wheelchair Championship took place in January 2002.

Wheelchair Curling made its first Olympic debut at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. The sport is currently practiced in 24 countries. The World Wheelchair Curling Championship is held every year, except in years when the Paralympic Winter Games take place.

Rules of the Game

In the Olympics, Wheelchair Curling is open to individuals with leg impairments who cannot walk or can only walk short distances. The rules are exactly the same as curling with one change: there is no sweeping.

Ten teams compete in Wheelchair Curling at the Paralympic Games. Each team must have male and female players. 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 the stones across the ice. Team members do not sweep the ice as they do in regular curling.

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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