Australia and Olympic Curling
Australia narrowly missed qualifying a curling team for Vancouver 2010. The men’s team progressed well through the world qualifications and it looked like history would be created, with our first curling Olympians, however they fell just short.
Like the granite stones curlers glide across the ice, it is clear that Australia is inching closer towards an Olympic target. Pyeongchang 2018 could be the time.
Curling was created in medieval Scotland (1500s) on frozen ponds using any stones players could find. The first curling competition at the Winter Olympic Games was held at Chamonix in 1924. After the Lake Placid Games in 1932, curling was dropped as an Olympic sport for the next 50 years, and then re-admitted as a demonstration sport at Calgary in 1988. It returned as an official Olympic sport in Nagano in 1998.
The pace and strategy of curling have given it the nickname of “Chess on Ice”. Curling is a team sport where players strategise over each slide. As one competitor sends the large 19.96kg granite stone down a marked sheet of ice their teammates sweep their path. The object of sweeping is to create a thin film of moisture between the stone and the ice to act as a lubricant. This makes the stone travel faster and makes it less likely to deviate from a straight line or “curl”.
Olympic curling matches are contested between two teams with four players each, consisting of the lead, the second, the third and the skip (team captain). Their aim is to place the stone as close as possible to the centre called the ‘tee’.
One game consists of ten "ends". A team delivers eight stones - two stones per person, in a set order until all sixteen stones have been delivered. The team with the highest total score wins.
Both the men’s and women’s tournaments in the Olympic curling competition consist of 10 teams each competing in a round robin tournament. During the preliminary series, each team plays against all other teams. Based on the results of the round robin, the four best teams advance to the semifinals with the 1st place team playing 4th place and 2nd vs 3rd. The winners of each semifinal play in the gold medal game and the losers play in the bronze medal game.