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The Origins of Curling as a Sport

Curling is one is the oldest ice sports played globally and it dates back to the 16th century. Since its invention it has spread all over the world from Scotland to mainland Europe and even to China where it is seen as a national sport!


The game is played on real ice and the object of the game is similar to that of Bowls in the way that an object is delivered to a target in the distance and the team who place it in the most accurate proximity are the winners. The forty pound curling stone delivered along the ice to a marked area, similar to an archery target, and known as the head.
The game is played between two teams, each team consisting of 4 players; a lead, a second, a third and a skip who each all take turns throwing the stones.

Once all sixteen stones have been thrown, known in the game as an end, the points are calculated, with one point accrued for each stone from the same team which has come to rest nearest the centre of the head. A full game of curling generally consists of 8 or 10 such ends and takes approximately two hours to complete.The game’s name comes from the fact that stones do not travel in a straight line as they are delivered down the ice. If a stone is given a clockwise twist when delivered by a player then it will (in most occasions) ‘curl’ to the right as it reaches the head and vice versa when given an anti-clockwise twist.

The game is also unique in that the team which delivered the stone can affect its path once it is in motion. This peculiar phenomenon is down to the practice of sweeping the ice in front of the stone with a broom or brush. This has the effect of straightening the path the stone takes as well as increasing the distance it can travel. Hard sweeping can affect the distanced travelled by a stone by as much as 3-4 metres.Despite its almost five hundred year heritage it is only recently that the sport achieved proper world recognition when in 1998 at the Winter games in Nagano it became a full Olympic event.

Curling today is a well known and enjoyed by all ages and sexes The game also involves a great deal of accuracy, subtlety and strategy. Combined with the physical upper body effort of sweeping and the variable playing surface which different ice conditions can present, curling could well be described as the ultimate game of contrasts.

Curling is a fun and challenging game combining physical and mental skill. It is one of the few sports where all ages, genders and abilities can play together and against each other.
The team that scores in the previous end plays first in the next end. This means that the non-scoring team gets the advantage of having the last stone. Games are played to a time limit usually between 2-2 ½ hours or until an agreed maximum number of ends are complete. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the game.


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