The History of that Odd Olympic Sport – Curling

An odd-looking sport

Have you seen an odd-looking sport on TV that involves “sweeping” a heavy discoid object on an ice field or ice rink? You’re scratching your head about how it is being played, and how the players score and win from playing that odd game.

The sport is called curling, and is popular in the north part of the western world in particular

– it can be played on a natural ice field during winters or indoors with an ice rink. To introduce to other people the basics of curling, the sport is played on a sheet of ice called a curling rink. The curling rink has a target area which is made of four segmented rings.

Curling is played by two teams, with four players apiece. Each team has eight stones – heavy, polished circular objects called rocks, which are made of granite, and the equipment they use in sliding these stones is called a broom. These teams take turns “sweeping” these rocks towards the “eye” of the of the rink’s target which is called the house. The purpose of this game is to accumulate the highest score, and to have one or more of your own team’s stones closer to the center of the house than the stones of the opposing team.

So how did this peculiar game originate, then?

This game is thought to have hailed from Scotland during the 16th century, from a sport which resembled modern curling, involving sliding stones across a sheet of ice, according to the records of Paisley Abbey, Renfrewhsire. The Dutch were thought to have introduced the sport to Scotland, as the Low Countries and Scotland had strong trading links way back then. This is evidenced by the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in the mid-1500′s which depict the Dutch peasants playing the sport.

Although some sources say that it was really the Scots who invented the game and it was not introduced to them by foreigners, as evidenced by an ancient curling stone which has the year 1511 inscribed on it. It was also in Scotland (in the city of Perth) where the term curling was coined, in 1620. The Kilsyth Curling Club is arguably the world’s first curling organization, and it still exists up to the present.

Indeed, Scotland is home to outdoor curling, as the sport was popular from the 16th to 19th centuries, as long as as ice conditions were excellent every winter season.

So how did the game land in Canada, which is now home to modern curling?

As you might have guessed it, the Scottish immigrants in Canada introduced the sport

The Royal Montreal Curling Club is the oldest curling organization in North America, having been established in 1807 by the Scottish Canadians. It’s not only the oldest existing curling club in North America, it’s also the oldest active club of any sport in that region.

Curling was officially inducted as one of the sports of the Winter Olympics in 1998, and has been one of the games of that tournament since. However, the first curling in the Olympics was played way back in 1924 (in Chamonix, France) as a demonstration game, but the International Olympic Committee has now recognized the 1924 curling competition as an official Olympic event.Now that you know a little bit more about curling and its history, you may no longer see it as a completely odd sport; perhaps you’re even more curious to try playing it!

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