To us here in Australia, the game of Curling seems quite unusual. We usually only come by the sport every four years when it’s televised during the Winter Olympics. Otherwise, it’s usually subject to some sporting banter at the pub. In some countries, however, Curling is a major sport. With Canada and Scotland being some of the most heated contenders in the sport, along with a number of other countries, mainly European.

The game is believed to have originated in Scotland, with the first recorded reference to the game dating back to 1541. The game is played on a rectangular sheet of ice with large, heavy polished granite stones. Originally an outdoor sport, modern technologies have allowed for it to be played indoors and all year round.

The Rules

Curling is very similar to lawn bowls or shuffleboard. Played in teams of four, with a maximum of two teams playing against each other at one time, the granite stone (known as the curling stone) is passed along the ice towards the target, with the aim of the game being to make the stone land as close to the centre of the target as possible. There are two sweepers that accompany the stone down the track, using brooms to vigorously sweep the ice directly in front of the stone. This momentarily melts the ice, reduces friction and helps direct the stone to the target.

The Curling Target is known as the ‘house’ and the centre is known as the ‘button’. The basic rules of the game indicate that the team that has a stone closest to the button at the end of each round gains a point for every stone they have closer than the opposing teams best effort. The team with the most points at the end of each match wins.

Curling Competitions

There are a few Curling competitions run around the world. The World Curling Federation, the governing body, based in Perth, Scotland, organizes the men and women’s World Curling Championships, held every year. Along with this, the sport is featured in the Winter Olympics every four years.

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