Mountain Sports

History of Curling

Curling at Youth Olympic Games 2012

Curling is a winter game appreciated by the people belonging to all age groups. It is known by many names like a chess set on the ice, a hybrid of bowling, and shuffleboard. Curling is played on a platform made of ice. In this sport, the players slide stones on an ice platform toward the target.

The targeted area is divided into four concentric circles. The curling is played between two teams, each team consisting of four players. The teams take turns in sliding the smooth, weighty, and granite stones across the curling ice platform towards the target area. The stones are also called as rocks.

Each team has eight stones, and every player has to throw two of them. A curling game generally consists of eight or ten ends. The teams have to get the highest scores to win a game. The purpose of curling is to slide the rocks into the concentric circles.

The players of each team shoot the rock towards the concentric circle. The high points are awarded to the players who push the stones closet to the housing circle. The team with the highest score is announced as the winner at the end of the game.

Participating Countries

The World Curling Federation (WCF) governs all the curling competition. There are more than 26 countries who are taking part in several tournaments and championships of curling. The included countries are Russia, China, Australia, the United States, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Spain, and many more. The participating countries are known as Curlers.

90% of the curling people live in Canada. In women’s curling category, Japan and Russia have a good ranking. Whereas in men’s curling category, France and Norway have considerably enhanced their ranking. The rankings for curling games are done by taking the last six seasons’ performance into account.

480 is the maximum points that can be allocated to the first rank holder in the Winter Olympic Games. Whereas 240 is the maximum points that can be awarded to the high ranker in World Curling Championships.

In men’s curling category, the top 5 countries of the 2013-2014 season include Sweden, Norway, Canada, Switzerland, Scotland, and Great Britain. Whereas, in the women’s category, the top 5 countries include China, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Scotland, and Great Britain.

History of Curling

Curling has been depicted as the ‘Roarin’ Game.’ It is because of the ‘roar’ coming from the noise of a granite rock as it slides over the ice. The origin of curling is not known, but it is considered as one of the oldest team games. The painting of Pieter Bruegel, a 16thcentury Flemish artist, portrayed an activity that resembles a curling game played on frozen ponds.

The curling game may have been started as a pastime game of throwing rocks over ice during grindingNorthern European winter. Now, this pastime game has its world championships and is well-liked and appreciated all over the world.

In early times, the curling used to be played on ice ponds and lochs. With the controlled ice temperature and conditions, all the national and international competitive curling tournaments happen in indoor rinks. Although if the weather is suitable for curling, it is still played and enjoyed outside the country.

In Scotland, the first known clubs of curling were formed. And with Scots, curling was exported during the 19th century around the world in cold climates. At that time, most notably in the countries Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, United States, and Norway.

The Grand Caledonian Curling Club, formed in 1838 in Edinburgh, became the governing body of the sport and drawn up the first rules in Scotland. Later, these rules were acquired as “Rules in Curling.” During a visit by Queen Victoria, on the ballroom floor of Scone Palace near Perth by the Earl of Mansfield, curling was demonstrated. The demonstration of curling left queen fascinated.

In 1843, with the permission of Queen Vitoria, the name of the club changed from the Grand Caledonian Curling Club to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. In the 19th century, international curling events were staged in North America and Europe. Official international competition for men’s team took place after the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France, in 1924.

At the 1932 Olympic Winter Games held at Lake Placid, United States, curling was listed as a demonstration sport. In 1957, in Edinburgh, after the passage of 25 years, the formation of an international organization came into consideration. This organization was required to apply for Olympic medal status.

Scotch Cup series was launched in 1959 by Canada and Scotland. This series was between their national men’s curling champions. Other countries developed an interest in Scotch Cup, between the span of 1961-1967, various countries like Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, France, the United States, and Germany widen the scope of this cup.

In March 1965, the success of the Scotch Cup series led to the creation of a global administration. A meeting was held in Perth, Scotland, by The Royal Caledonian Curling Club (Scotland), including six countries- United States, Switzerland, Sweden, Scotland, Canada, and Norway. The proposal of the formation of an international committee of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, to be known as the International Curling Federation, was accepted in this meeting.

In March 1966, in Vancouver, Canada, a draft constitution was reviewed by seven countries for the International Curling Federation. The addition of France was made to the original six countries. At Perth, March 1967, the constitution was approved, and rules for the international competition were initiated.

In 1968, at the annual meeting of the Federation, in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada, these rules were approved, and revisions were made each year. In 1968 Scotch Cup was replaced by the Air Canada Silver Broom and was authorized as the World Curling Championship. The World Junior Men’s Curling Championship was approved by the Federation in 1975. Whereas, the Ladies’ Curling Championship was approved in 1979.

The 50th anniversary of the World Curling Federation was celebrated in 2016. In the same year, Sweeping Summit was organized near Ottawa, Canada, to put forward the rules of sweeping.

Scoring of Curling

Scoring is done when both the teams have finished throwing eight stones. The team is awarded a point if it is close to the center of the house. Additional points are awarded if stones of each player of 1 team are closer than the best of the opposing team. To score a point at least one stone to be in the house (touching any of the circles).

After the completion of the game, the team with the most points is announced as a winner. Most curling matches happen over ten, or in some cases, eight ends. In case the scores are level after the distributed number of ends, at that point, an additional sudden-death end is played.

Rules of Curling

It is crucial to know the rules of a game along with the strategies and basics. Not knowing the rules can result in penalties instead of points. So, we will share a few basic rules related to curling in this article.

  • It is not allowed to the players of either team to touch the stone with their bodies or brooms, no matter if it is a sweeper or any other player.
  • No scoring or measurements are allowed before both teams are done with their turns. The team that slides the stone nearest to the concentric circle earns a point.
  • Vice captains of both the groups are appointed to settle all the arguments regarding the shots.
  • If the stone passes the backline, it is taken out of the game.
  • To stay in an event, the player must slide the rock in a way that it proceeds the hog line or must strike another stone.

There are some additional rules as well, along with the actual rules that have to be followed in curling. Due to these supplementary rules, curling is said to be gentlemen’s sport. Before starting the game and after completing the game, both the teams shake hands to greet and wish each other. This greeting is called good curling. There is a tradition as well, according to which, the winning team gives refreshment to the other opposing team.

In curling, there are some other significant etiquettes are as well.

  • Compliment the team who makes a good shot, even if it is your opponent.
  • The player must hold his position in the hack as soon as his opposing team hits the rock.
  • Placing skip’s stone in front of the hack can speed up the match.
  • For deciding the last stone advantage, the coin is tossed by the Vice-captain at the beginning of each game.

Final Words

Although curling is originated from Scotland, soon it caught the attention of other countries as well. Since curling is a fascinating game and full of fun, it has a massive audience. Curling is well-liked and well appreciated in almost all prominent international countries. Curling is a game that requires expertise and strategy. To win this sport, you need to secure more points. And to earn more points, you must know the rules and basics of the game. Not knowing the basics can result in penalties and loss of points.

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