While it is true that the sport of curling dates back to the 15th century, the modernversion (Scottish style) originated in the early 17th century. The oldest Curling Club in North America is Royal Montreal Curling Club (1807). Curling was always played outdoors, usually on frozen lakes, until the 20th century. Curling was a demonstration sport in the Olympics 4 times (1924, 1932, 1992, 1994) before being admitted as a full medal sport in 1998. Canada has more curlers in total than any other country.
Overview of the Sport
Curling is a team sport played on ice. The Olympic medal sport originated in the 1500’s on the lakes and ponds of Northern Europe. The object of the game is for two teams of four players to slide 42-pound granite rocks down a sheet of ice 130 feet long by 15 feet wide. The rocks are delivered toward the centre of a 12-foot diameter target similar to an archery target. The targets are painted into the ice just below the surface at both ends of the sheet of ice, to allow the game to be played back and forth, usually eight or ten times.
Each player throws two rocks toward the target, alternating with the opponent. Rocks travelling down the ice have a tendency to curve or “curl”, hence the name curling. After all sixteen rocks have been thrown the score is determined. Teams score one point for each rock closest to the centre of the house. In each end (similar to an inning in baseball), only one team can score.
A unique part of curling is the concept of sweeping. Players vigorously sweep, or brush, the ice in front of the rock to keep it moving. The friction caused by the sweeping polishes the ice by briefly heating the surface, which makes the rocks travel farther and straighter.