Curling will be the first sport played at Beijing 2022, beginning two days before the Opening Ceremony, and for the first time in Olympic history Australia will be in the competition.
Also known by the nickname ‘chess on ice', Curling is a team sport where one competitor sends a large 19.96kg granite stone down a marked sheet of ice for their teammates to sweep a strategic path. The angle of the sweeping can adjust the rock to travel straighter, curl wider and make it travel further.
The sport was founded in medieval Scotland in the 1500s on frozen ponds and players used any stones they could find.
Teams compete against each other over eight or 10 ends. The team that has one or more of their rocks closest to the centre at the conclusion of the end will score a point for each closest rock. The team with the most points after all the ends wins the match-up.
All the Curling events are held between Wednesday 2 February to Sunday 20 February.
What's the story?
- Australia's maiden curling Olympians are Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt, who will compete daily in the mixed doubles round robin action between Wednesday 2 Feb and Sunday 6 Feb.
- The competition will take place at the Beijing National Aquatics Centre, which has also been known as ‘The Water Cube'. The venue hosted the aquatics competitions at the 2008 Summer Olympics and after its recent renovation it's now referred to as ‘The Ice Cube'.
- Dean's father Steve was part of the Australian Team that competed at the Albertville 1992 Olympics when Curling was still a demonstration sport.
- Tahli's mother (Lynette) and sisters (Kirby and Jayna) have all represented Australia in Curling.
Ones to watch
Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt won all seven of their matches at the mixed doubles Olympic qualification event at Leeuwarden, Netherlands in December 2021. The pair defeated Korea 6-5 in the final to complete an incredible tournament.
Their Olympic campaign starts with a game against Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys from the United States of America. Tahli and Dean are ranked 14th in the world and the Persinger/Plys pair are ranked No.16.
Sweden and Canada are the only two countries to occupy top five spots in the world rankings for both the men's and women's competitions.
The Swedish men's team have been world champions since 2019. While there will be a lot of pressure on the Canadian men's and women's teams to perform. At PyeongChang 2018 both the men's and women's teams from Canada missed out on a medal for the first time at the Olympic level.
Star women's skip Anna Hasselborg (SWE) can make more history in the women's competition at Beijing, who became the first curler to be the simultaneous holder of the European Curling Championship gold medal, the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship gold medal and an Olympic gold medal. She will be leading a team that's trying to defend Sweden's women's Curling gold medal from PyeongChang 2018.
Norway's Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten enter Beijing as the world's No.1 mixed doubles pair. Four years ago they took bronze at their debut Olympics and they will be very difficult to prevent from securing the gold medal.
John Morris (CAN) gets an opportunity to be the first athlete to win three curling medals when he teams up with Rachel Homan (CAN) in the mixed doubles.
In the three events – men's, women's and mixed doubles – all 10 teams compete against each other in a round robin. A game is made up of eight or 10 ends. The aim is to place the stone as close as possible to the centre, called the tee. Once an end finishes, the team that has one or more stones closest to the centre of the tee is awarded one point per stone. The team with the highest total score after all ends are played wins.
The team with the closest stone after each end gets a point. Additional points are awarded for any other stones they have that are closer than their opponent's closest stone. The team with the most points after the last end wins.
After the round robin, teams are ranked according to their win/loss record. The top four qualify to the semi-finals. In the semis, 1st plays 4th and 2nd plays 3rd. The semi-final winners go into the gold medal game, and the semi-final losers play in the bronze medal game.
Men's and women's
A game is made up of 10 ends. Teams are made up of four players each which are called the lead, the second, the third and the skip (team captain). An end consists of each of the four team members playing two stones, alternately with the opponent's stones (for a total of eight stones per team).
A game is made up of eight ends. Prior to each end, one stone from each team is placed in a predetermined position. One player of the team delivers the first and last stone, and the other player delivers the second, third and fourth stones.
#HaveAGo at Curling
🥌For all abilities
🥌For all ages
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
🥌Wear warm, comfortable clothing with joggers; equipment (rocks, brooms, and sliders) available at the venue
WHERE TO #HAVEAGO?
🥌Check out our website to see where curling is happening near you.