Sliding into Curling at Sochi

The 2014 Winter Olympics are here, and that means it’s time to pull out the … brooms?

Curling, a Scottish sport from the 16th century, allows players to sweep the ice while simultaneously trying to sweep the competition. This interesting winter sport has become an Olympic staple, attracting many unlikely fans over its time.

There are two essential tools for the sport: brooms and stones. One player pushes the stone across the ice in a lunging movement. This player’s job is to accurately spin or “curl” the stone so that it moves across the ice towards a bull’s-eye (also called the house). Then, two other players sweep the ice, creating friction that melts the ice in order to sustain momentum so the stone will reach the target. The ultimate goal is to get the stone as close to the center of the house as possible. Whichever team is able to achieve this wins the round.

Each round is called an “end,” and there are 10 ends per Olympic game. However, game aside, one of the most interesting parts of this sport is the aftermath. After a game, both teams almost always get together for a social gathering. This tradition, called broomstacking, is a display of good sportsmanship, which is prominent throughout the sport.

In the 2010 Olympics, Canada was the top team, winning men’s gold and women’s silver medals. Sweden was also a top contender, bringing in the women’s gold for their country. This year, all eyes are on Britain’s Eve Muirhead to lead the team to victory. For the men however, Sweden’s team is looking strong, ready to take home first place. The United States’ team captain John Shuster is also looking for gold this year, bringing his team to Sochi with a positive attitude and a lot of determination.

Regardless, one thing will be set in stone: the return of the Norwegian team and their interesting outfits. In 2010 they debuted their wacky attire on the ice, receiving an overwhelmingly positive response. For 2014 they’re back with new pants that symbolize their pride for Norway. Their bright pants have attracted a new crowd, making room for a new generation of curling fans.

By: Jennifer Gagliardi

A part of the SJC Talon 2014 Olympic Series


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