116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The chilly sport of curling is one of the most interesting sports at the Winter Olympics. Learn a few things about it before some of the world’s top athletes begin competing at the Winter Olympics on Feb. 4.
Want to try curling yourself? Cedar Rapids Curling offers lots of opportunities. Kids age 8 and older with an adult are welcome to bundle up and try throwing at ImOn Ice, 1100 Rockford Rd SE. Visit cedarrapidscurling.com with an adult’s permission to sign up for classes.
1. Brooms and stones
In curling, players slide heavy, polished rocks across ice toward a circular target. The rocks are called stones, and the bumpy ice is a curling sheet. The circular target players aim for is the house, and wherever the stone stops determines the score.
Why is it called curling? Players can curve, or curl, the stone toward the target or around other stones. Teams also can make the stone travel farther or straighter by sweeping — smoothing out the ice in front of the stone.
2. One of the oldest sports in the world
Curling originated in Scotland in the 1500s, when Scots played on frozen ponds with curling stones. According to the Olympics, Stones with handles were introduced in the 1600s, but the sport didn’t have official rules until the first curling club started in 1838.
Men’s curling was in the first Winter Olympics in 1924 but wasn’t included in later competitions. Curling officially returned to the Olympics in 1998 as a men’s and women’s sport, and in 2018 mixed doubles were added.
3. Three Olympic events
At the Beijing 2022 games, there will be three events: Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed Doubles. Most teams have four players, with mixed doubles teams having two athletes.
That means there are nine medals up for grabs. So far, Canada has the most medals — 11, with six gold — in curling of any country.
4. ‘Coldblooded’ teams tend to succeed
Countries with colder climates are often favorites in curling. The World Curling Federation ranks Sweden, Switzerland, Korea, Russia and Canada as the best teams.
The Swedish men’s teams has been successful at the World Champions, but have so far missed their chances for Olympic gold medals — they won silver in Pyeongchang in 2018.
The Swedes almost took home gold in 2018 but were beat by the Americans. This year, the U.S. men’s team will be defending their gold — the first ever won by a U.S. team.