Olympic24: Two 2012 stars are back and Muirhead wins again

Olympic24: Two 2012 stars are back and Muirhead wins again

Two stars of London 2012 made winning comebacks, GB's ice hockey team win again, another Olympic champion is back in the winners enclosure and E...


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Curling has been described as the “Roarin’ Game”, with the “roar” coming from the noise of a granite stone as it travels over the ice. The exact origins of the game, however, are unclear, but curling is widely believed to be one of the world’s oldest team sports.

Paintings by a 16th Century Flemish Artist, Pieter Bruegel (1530-1569) portrayed an activity similar to curling being played on frozen ponds. The first written evidence appeared in Latin, when in 1540, John McQuhin, a notary in Paisley, Scotland, recorded in his protocol book a challenge between John Sclater, a monk in Paisley Abbey and Gavin Hamilton, a representative of the Abbot. The report indicated that Sclater threw a stone along the ice three times and asserted that he was ready for the agreed contest.

What is clear, however, is that what may have started as an enjoyable pastime of throwing stones over ice during a harsh Northern European winter, has evolved into a popular modern sport with its own World Championships attracting fans and large television audiences.

Curling in its early days was played on frozen lochs and ponds. A pastime still enjoyed in some countries when weather permits, but all National and International competitive curling competitions now take place in indoor rinks with the condition of the ice carefully temperature-controlled.

It is also clear that the first recognized Curling Clubs were formed in Scotland, and during the 19th Century the game was “exported” wherever Scots settled around the world in cold climates, most notably at that time in Canada, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.

The first Rules were drawn up in Scotland, and they were formally adopted as the “Rules in Curling” by the Grand Caledonian Curling Club, which was formed in Edinburgh in 1838 and became the sport’s governing body. Four years later, following a demonstration of curling on the ballroom floor of Scone Palace near Perth by the Earl of Mansfield during a visit by Queen Victoria, the Queen was so fascinated by the game that in 1843 she gave permission for the Club’s name to be changed to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC).

It is recorded that international curling events were staged in the 19th century in Europe and North America, but it was not until the first Olympic Winter Games at Chamonix in 1924 that any form of official International competition took place for men’s teams. Great Britain defeated Sweden and France in what was retroactively accepted in 2006 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as Curling’s Olympic debut, with medals awarded.

In 1959, Scotland and Canada reached a major milestone by launching the Scotch Cup series between their national men's curling champions.

Interest in other countries was generated, and the USA (1961), Sweden (1962), Norway and Switzerland (1964), France (1966) and Germany (1967) expanded the Scotch Cup entry. The 1959-67 results now are recognized in the curling history of the men's world championship.

The International Curling Federation (ICF) was established as of April 1, 1966.

In 1968, the Air Canada Silver Broom replaced the Scotch Cup, and it was sanctioned as the World Curling Championship. In 1975, the Federation endorsed the World Junior Men's Curling Championship; in 1979 the Ladies’ Curling Championship; and in 1988, the World Junior Ladies’ Curling Championship. The four events were combined into two in 1989 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Markham, Ontario, and became known as the World Curling Championships (WCC) and the World Junior Curling Championships (WJCC).

In 1982 the ICF was declared an independent entity and approved as the governing body for curling in the world, while the Royal Caledonian Curling Club was acknowledged as the Mother Club of Curling.
In 1991, the name of the Federation was changed to the World Curling Federation (WCF).

Curling was a demonstration sport for a second and third time at the Olympic Winter Games of 1988 (Calgary) and 1992 (Albertville) for teams of men and women.
On 21 July 1992, at its session in Barcelona, Spain, the International Olympic Committee granted official medal status to Men’s and Women’s Curling, to take effect no later than the Olympic Winter Games of 2002, with an option for 1998 at Nagano, Japan.

During the meeting of the IOC Executive Board held June 22-23, 1993 in Lausanne, the Organizing Committee of the Nagano Olympic Winter Games (NAOC) officially agreed to include Curling in the programme of the XVIII Olympic Winter Games in 1998. Eight teams for men and women participated in Nagano, and this was increased to ten from the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games of 2002 onwards.

The first World Wheelchair Curling Championship was held in January 2002 and in March that year, the International Paralympic Committee granted official medal status to Wheelchair Curling for mixed gender teams. The Organizing Committee of the Torino Paralympic Winter Games 2006 agreed to include Wheelchair Curling in their programme.

Other international events introduced in 2002 included World Senior Championships for men and women, and The Continental Cup, a competition run along the same lines as golf’s Ryder Cup, with Team North America (Canada and USA) versus Europe (now Team World).

In 2003, Curling was featured on the programmes of the World University Winter Games and the Asian Winter Games for the first time.

In 2005, the World Men’s and Women’s Championships were separated once again, and held in different parts of the world. Also that year the European Youth Olympic Festival introduced a curling competition for Junior men and women between 15 and 18 years of age.

The growth of the sport in Asia was recognized with the World Women’s Championship held in Aomori, Japan, in 2007 and Gangneung, Korea, in 2009.


The Olympic Curling Competitions consist of 2 events; the Mens Team Competition and the Womens Team Competition

For both events, the format of the competition is the same;

  • 10 Team Round Robin from which 4 teams qualify for the knock-out stages
  • The top 4 ranked teams from the round robin competition play Semi finals (Team ranked 1 vs Team ranked 4/ Team ranked 2 vs Team ranked 3)
  • The Winners of the semi finals play in the final for the Gold and Silver medals
  • The losers of the semi finals play off to determine the winner of the Bronze medal.

All Games played are 10 end Games.


Curling sheet

The playing surface or curling sheet is an area of ice, carefully prepared to be as flat and level as possible, 146 to 150 feet (45 to 46 m) in length by 14.5 to 16.5 feet (4.4 to 5.0 m) in width.
A target, the house, is marked at each end of the sheet. The house consists of three concentric rings which are defined by their diameters as the four-foot, eight-foot and 12-foot rings. The rings are merely a visual aid for aiming and judging which stone is closer to the centre; they do not affect scoring but a stone must at least touch the outer ring or it does not score.

Curling stone

The curling stone is a thick stone disc weighing between 38 and 44 pounds (17 and 20 kg) with a handle attached to the top. The maximum allowable circumference is 36 inches (910 mm). The minimum height is 4.5 inches (110 mm) The handle is attached by a bolt running vertically through a hole in the centre of the stone. The handle allows the stone to be gripped and rotated upon release; on properly prepared ice, the stone's path will bend (curl) in the direction the front edge of the stone is turning, especially as the stone slows. The handles are colored to identify the stones by team. Two popular colors in major tournaments are red and yellow. The only part of the stone in contact with the ice is the running surface, a narrow, flat annulus or ring, 0.25 to 0.50 inch (6.3 to 13 mm) wide and about 5 inches (130 mm) in diameter; the sides of the stone bulge convex down to the ring and the inside of the ring is hollowed concave to clear the ice.

Curling broom

The curling broom, or brush, is used to sweep the ice surface in the path of the stone, and is also often used as a balancing aid during delivery of the stone.

In earlier days, brooms were made of corn strands and were similar to household brooms. Brushes were used primarily by elderly curlers as a substitute for corn brooms. Today, brushes have replaced traditional corn brooms at every level of curling, but are universally referred to as brooms. Curling brushes may have fabric, hog hair, or horsehair heads. Modern curling broomsticks are usually hollow tubes made of fiberglass or carbon fibre. These hollow tube handles are lighter and stronger than wooden handles, allowing faster sweeping and also enabling more downward force to be applied to the broom head with reduced shaft flex.


Curling shoes are similar to ordinary athletic shoes except that they have dissimilar soles; the slider shoe is designed for the off foot (or sliding foot) and the non-sliding shoe for the hack foot:

The slider shoe is designed to slide and typically has a Teflon sole. It is worn by the thrower during delivery from the hack and by sweepers or the skip to glide down the ice when sweeping or otherwise traveling down the sheet quickly. When a player is not throwing, the player's slider shoe can be temporarily rendered non-slippery by using a slip-on gripper.

The non-sliding shoe, or hack foot shoe, is worn by the thrower on the hack foot during delivery and is designed to grip. It may have a normal athletic shoe sole or a special layer of rubbery material applied to the sole of a thickness to match the sliding shoe. 


The winner is the team having the highest number of accumulated points at the completion of ten ends. Points are scored at the conclusion of each of these ends as follows: when each team has thrown its eight stones the team with the stone closest to the button wins that end, the winning team is then awarded one point for each of its own stones lying closer to the button than the opponent's closest stone. The positions of all the other opponent’s stones other than the closest make no difference to the score.

Only stones that are in the house are considered in the scoring. A stone is in the house if it lies within the 12-foot (3.7 m) zone or any portion of its edge lies over the edge of the ring. Since the bottom of the stone is rounded, a stone just barely in the house will not have any actual contact with the ring, which will pass under the rounded edge of the stone, but it still counts. 

Our Results

Total: 4 medals
  • 2 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Chamonix 1924
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Nagano 1998
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Salt Lake City 2002
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Turin 2006
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Vancouver 2010
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sochi 2014
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
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