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Everything You Need to Know About Curling

 Venue
 1994 Golds
 How It Works
 Equipment
 Glossary
 Scoring
 History
 Schedule
 U.S. Outlook
 Others to Watch
 Overview
 Trivia

curling
Post Graphic
Venue: Curling will take place at Kazakoshi Park Arena, near Lake Shiozawa, where the equestrian events for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 were held. The town is best known as a summer resort, but winter sports, particularly speedskating, are popular as well. The Kazakoshi Park Arena is used for tennis in summer and for ice hockey and figure skating in winter. For the Olympic curling events, the 30-by-60 meter rink will be divided into four ice sheets.

1994 Golds:Curling makes its debut as a medal sport in Nagano, but it has been featured as a demonstration sport as far back as 1924.

How It Works: Curling, a strategy game sometimes called "chess on ice," will be a medal sport for the first time at Nagano. It gets its name from the "curl," or spin, a player puts on the stone by twisting it upon its release.

Each team has four players: lead, second, third and the team captain, called the skip. Each player, alternating with the opposing team, delivers a stone from the delivery zone toward the house, or scoring area, as instructed by the skip. The player must release the stone before reaching the "hog line."

Two sweepers brush the ice in front of the moving stone, trying to maneuver the stone as close as possible to where the skip indicates. Vigorous sweeping polishes the ice, enabling the stone to travel as much as 15 feet farther.

The team that wins an "end," or group of 16 stones, plays first in the next end. Often the most important stone is the last, so teams often intentionally lose an end to reverse the order of play.

Each game lasts about 2½ hours.

Equipment: The curling stone is made of granite, weighs about 44 pounds and is about a foot in diameter.
 Brush (or broom): The brush is used to polish the ice, increasing the distance the stone travels. The skip also holds the broom to indicate a target for teammates' shots.
 Slider and grip: Two different shoe soles worn by a player during delivery of the stone. The slider sole is slick and goes on the foot that slides forward. The grip is made of rubber to provide traction for the other foot. After shooting, the player attaches a rubber pad to the slider for traction.

Glossary: As in chess, curling vocabulary often describes particular moves and strategies. Some examples:
 Come around: A stone curves around in front of another stone.
 Hit and stay: A shot that knocks an opponent's stone out of play and stays near where the opponent's stone was. If the hitting stone continues moving, it's called a hit and roll.
 Freeze: A stone that touches an opponent's stone and stops.
 Draw: A stone that stops inside the house.
 Guard: A stone that is placed in front of another stone to protect it from opponents.
 Raise: A stone that bumps a teammate's stone into the circle.

curling
KRT Graphic
Scoring: After each end, the team with the stone closest to the tee, the center of the house, wins. Points are added for each stone between the tee and the opponent's nearest stone. The maximum score in an end is eight points, but an eight-point end is rarer than a hole-in-one in golf. The team with the highest total score after 10 ends wins.

History: It is generally agreed that curling was developed in Scotland in the 16th century.

Scottish farmers curled on frozen marshes using "channel stones," which were naturally smoothed by the water's action. The principles of the game were similar to the modern game, although there were many differences in rules and equipment.

Scottish immigrants brought the game with them to North America, first to Canada around 1759, then to the United States around 1832. Curling in the rest of Europe developed in the 20th century.

Two developments ensured the development of the modern game:
 The standardization of the stone.
 Indoor, refrigerated ice.

The modern stone is round and about 42 pounds. Curling is played, for
Curling
KRT Photo
the most part, on indoor, refrigerated ice, which helps ensure a fast, consistent playing surface.

Bizarre and even comic as the game may seem to the uninitiated, many in Canada seriously regard curling as their true national sport. At the Calgary Games in 1988, the 21,000 tickets for the six days of curling competitions, which was then just a demonstration sport, sold out faster than every sport except figure skating and speedskating. Almost one million Canadians participate in the sport, and Canada's national championships have attracted more than three million television viewers annually for the past five years.

Curling was approved as an Olympic medal sport in July 1992; it has been a demonstration sport four times: in 1924 (Chamonix); 1932 (Lake Placid), 1988 (Calgary) and 1992 (Albertville).

Schedule
DateEventTime (ET)
Monday,
Feb. 9
Women
Norway vs. Sweden
Canada vs. United States
Germany vs. Denmark
Japan vs. Great Britain
7 p.m.
(Feb. 8)
Monday,
Feb. 9
Men
Germany vs. Switzerland
Norway vs. Great Britain
Canada vs. Japan
United States vs. Sweden
12 a.m.
Monday,
Feb. 9
Women
Denmark vs. Great Britain
Germany vs. Japan
Sweden vs. United States
Norway vs. Canada
5 a.m.
Tuesday,
Feb. 10
Men
Japan vs. Sweden
Canada vs. United States
Switzerland vs. G.Britain
Germany vs. Norway
7 p.m.
(Feb. 9)
Tuesday,
Feb. 10
Women
Germany vs. United States
Norway vs. Great Britain
Japan vs. Canada
Sweden vs. Denmark
12 a.m.
Tuesday,
Feb. 10
Men
Canada vs. Great Britain
Germany vs. Sweden
United States vs. Norway
Switzerland vs. Japan
5 a.m.
Wednesday,
Feb. 11
Women
Canada vs. Denmark
Japan vs. Sweden
Norway vs. Germany
Great Britain vs. United States
7 p.m.
(Feb. 10)
Wednesday,
Feb. 11
Men
Norway vs. Japan
United States vs. Switzerland
Germany vs. Canada
Sweden vs. Great Britain
12 a.m.
Wednesday,
Feb. 11
Women
Japan vs. Norway
United States vs. Denmark
Canada vs. Great Britain
Germany vs. Sweden
5 a.m.
Thursday,
Feb. 12
Men
United States vs. Germany
Great Britain vs. Japan
Norway vs. Sweden
Canada vs. Switzerland
7 p.m.
(Feb. 11)
Thursday,
Feb. 12
Women
Sweden vs. Canada
Great Britain vs. Germany
United States vs. Norway
Denmark vs. Japan
12 a.m.
Thursday,
Feb. 12
Men
Switzerland vs. Norway
Sweden vs. Canada
Great Britain vs. Germany
Japan vs. United States
5 a.m.
Friday,
Feb. 13
Women
United States vs. Japan
Denmark vs. Norway
Great Britain vs. Sweden
Canada vs. Germany
7 p.m.
(Feb. 12)
Friday,
Feb. 13
Men
Great Britain vs. United States
Japan vs. Germany
Sweden vs. Switzerland
Norway vs. Canada
12 a.m.
Saturday,
Feb. 14
Women's Semifinals
Men's Semifinals
Women's Bronze Medal Match
Men's Bronze Medal Match
Women's Gold Medal Match
12 a.m.
4 a.m.
7 p.m.
11 p.m.
7 p.m.
Sunday,
Feb. 15
Men's Gold Medal Match 3 a.m.

Overview: The Olympics will feature 16 teams — eight men's teams and eight women's. The U.S. teams qualified based on their rankings in world tournaments during the past three years — fourth for women and fifth for men. Look for Canada and Great Britain (with a teams of Scots) to fight for the gold and silver medals, while the United States battles Norway and Switzerland for the bronze.

U.S. Outlook: It's not inconceivable that the U.S. women will come home from Nagano with a gold medal. Canada is by far the favorite, but the United States was right behind the Canadians in 1996, taking the silver medal at the world championships.

"I wouldn't have a problem saying our U.S. women's team is as strong as one of the top teams in Canada," said Steve Brown, the U.S. women's coach.

The U.S. men will battle for a spot in the top five. American men haven't won a world title since 1978.

Others to watch: Canada is considered the powerhouse in the sport. Jeff Stoughton is reigning world and Canadian men's champion. Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland look to contend.

Marilyn Bodogh is the Canadian and two-time world women's champion. Sweden's Elizabeth Gustavsson, a former world champion, should be her top challenger.

Trivia: 1. Where did curling originate?
2. How many times has curling been a demonstration sport in the Olympics?
3. What is the maximum amount that curling stones can weigh?
Answers

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