Curling is a very old Scottish sport. The oldest know curling stone bears the date 1511, and a painting by Pieter Breughel (1560) shows a Dutch science of the sport. The sport was probably a Scottish invention, because in 1457, the Scottish parliament prohibited golf (!) because they aroused riots. Curling wasn’t endangered by this prohibition, although the rocks were a great weapon. The first stones weighted only 2 to 3 kg. They were called loofies, being they had a design of a hand. There were no precise rules, except if you slid your boulder past the line behind the rink, you’re therefore out of bounds.
By 1807 the Royal Montreal Curling Club was formed. Other countries also created curling clubs and the National Curling club of America was formed in 1867. Even with all these clubs, curling was still a regional sport until 1927 when the first Canadian national championship was held. In 1947 the U.S. Women's Curling Association was formed. By 1958, 125 clubs belonged to the U.S. Curling Association.
The first world championship was held that same year. Since then more than 30 nations belong to the International Curling Federation. They estimate that about 2 million people participate in the sport worldwide.
a demonstration sport at several Olympics before becoming an official sport
at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.
About the Sport
The playing area, or "rink," for curling is 46 yards long and 14 feet wide. At each end is a house. A mark, called the button, in the center of the house is surrounded by circles similar to an archery target. The circles make it easy to judge distances, but they have nothing to do with scoring.
Curlers slide round stones down the ice trying to get as close as possible to the button. The stone has a handle at the top, and the bottom is concave to reduce friction.
Teams are made up of four players led by a captain. Each player delivers two stones, alternating with an opponent. The unique feature of curling is that a player's teammates use brooms to sweep the ice ahead of the stone, allowing it to go farther.
After all eight players are finished, inning is complete. A team scores one point for each stone that's nearer to the button than any of the other team's stones. Thus, only one team can score in any given end and the number of points can range from one to eight. If there are no stones in the house, there is no scoring for that end. A match is usually made up of 10 to 12 ends.
There are no penalties in the sport of curling.
In The Olympics
approved as an Olympic medal sport in July 1992. The Olympics United
States Curling Association was a United States States Committee Affiliated Sports
Organization member since 1986. The USCA became a National Governing body
in May 1994. Curling first appeared in the Olympics in Nagano in 1998.
Since then Canada has dominated the sport, but many more athletes are joining
the sport and hope to win the Olympic medals in Salt Lake City in 2002.
1998 Switzerland (Patrick Huerlimann)
1998 Canada (Sandra Schmirler)