What Is Curling
Curling is a sport that is played on ice between two teams, each of which has four players who slide stones across the curling sheet. The goal is to hit the target area or the house. When both teams throw all their stones (each has eight stones), they receive scores for the stones that are within the house. Stones closer to the centre get more scores. A game consists of eight ends, while championships have ten ends.
Origin of Curling
The game of curling was developed in Scotland, probably during the Middle Ages but the first records mention a game on ice with the use of stones only in 1540s. However, upon drying an old pond near Dunblane in the Stirling council area, two curling stones were found, one with engraved year of 1511 which clearly indicates that the game was played in Scotland during the Middle Ages.
Curling in the UK
Curling is most strongly established in Scotland. It is also enjoyed in other parts of Britain although players complain about the lack of curling rinks. The earliest records of the game being played in England date to the late 18th century, while the first match in Wales was played only in 1973 after the opening of ice rink at the Deeside Leisure Centre.
Curling Around the World
The sport of curling is played in most parts of the world. Two paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder reveal that the game on ice was played in Low Countries as early as the 16th century. In Canada where the sport was introduced by the Scottish immigrants, the first curling club was founded in the early 19th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, curling also became established in the United States and most parts of Europe. Today, the sport’s highest governing body – the World Curling Federation – has 50 member associations from all over the world with the exception of African and South Asian countries.
Various curling tournaments are held annually on both national and international level. European teams compete at the European Curling Championships which are at the same time also the qualifier for the World Curling Championships which are held annually as well. Top eight European teams qualify for the world championships.
Since 1998, curling is also played at the Winter Olympics but the International Olympic Committee decided that the first official event is the demonstration at the Winter Olympics in 1924 which was won by Great Britain and Ireland. Wheelchair curling, on the other hand, is an official Paralympic sport since 2006.