The sport of curling

Team Canada skip Kevin Martin delivers a stone against Sweden at the 2008 world men's curling championship in Grand Forks, N.D. on Sunday, April 6, 2008. Canada won 8-5.

The Canadian Press

Team Canada skip Kevin Martin delivers a stone against Sweden at the 2008 world men’s curling championship in Grand Forks, N.D. on Sunday, April 6, 2008. Canada won 8-5.

Garrett Nelson, Reporter

The sport of curling has been a part of the Winter Olympics since 1924. It is a very simple sport focused around a stone on a sheet of ice being slid toward a target which is segmented into four concentric circles. Each team has eight stones, and the purpose is to get the highest score for a game. Points are scored by getting as close to the center of the target with each stone at the conclusion of end. An end is completed when each of the teams has thrown all of their stones. A game usually consists of about eight to ten ends.

While the premise of the game is incredibly simple, the technique used by professionals is far from. A curler can produce a curved motion with a stone by slightly turning the stone when throwing it down the ice. The motion of the stone can be further influenced by the other two members of the team that move with the stone towards the target with their brooms. They can brush the ground in front of the stone to influence the stone and get it to hit their desired location on the target.

When playing the game there is a lot of defensive play by the team with positioning. With a stone in the center of the target, a team will try to leave a stone in play, but in such a position so as to stop the other team from hitting their stone off the target. The wide number of different techniques that can be used by either team during a game has given the sport a nickname, “chess on ice.”

There are a number of great curlers, but widely regarded as the best of all time is curler Kevin Martin. Nicknamed, “The Old Bear” and “K-Mart”, Martin is a retired Canadian curler from Edmonton. He is known for his rivalry with Glenn Howard from 2007-2014, perhaps the best two team rivalry in Canadian curling history, and his rivalry with Sweden’s Peja Lindholm from 1997-2006, perhaps the best ever mens Canada-Europe rivalry. Martin also holds the record for the most Olympic wins, with 20 total at the Olympic games. Martin has also served as an ambassador for the sport through setting up curling events to introduce people to the sport and share his love for the game.

While this sport isn’t widely known, or respected, it is a great display of both mental fortitude and physical discipline. The athletes in this sport have to be incredibly precise to consistently get their stone in such a position that it will enable them to win the end and then eventually the game.