Everything You Need to Know to Watch Curling at the 2018 Winter Olympics
Curling is one of life's great mysteries. Of the little more than a dozen sports included in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, it's the one that every knows they know nothing about. You also probably have no idea what's involved in biathlon, but there's something about watching adults aggressively brush ice that boggles the mind.
But no more. Today you're going to learn exactly what this game is, how to play it, how to watch it, and who to watch out for, because that's what the Winter Olympics are all about: coming together to celebrate those sports that aren't in the summer Olympics, sports that we don't really understand but are excited about anyway.
What is curling, anyway?Curling is one of the world's oldest team sports, invented in 16th-century Scotland and played on frozen ponds, but it was only added to the Olympics in 1998. Two teams of four players play on a sheet of ice and slide a 38- to 44-pound rock called a stone across the ice toward a target (called the house) and get as close to its center (the button) as possible.
It's honestly a lot like cornhole -- except that as the stone slides across the ice two sweeps stay abreast of it and vigorously brush just in front of it to control the amount friction and thus how far it glides. The person who slides the stone is called the thrower. The skipper, aka captain or skip, stands by the house and sets the strategy for the team, often by tapping the spot for the thrower to aim. A typical Olympic game lasts two hours and forty minutes. So, yes, it's long. Curling is called "Chess on ice" because of the insane amount of strategy involved, and each team is given 38 minutes just for strategy time per game.