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The Complete Guide to American Olympic Curling

Are you an American watching the Winter Olympics and know less than nothing about curling? We are here to help you understand this otherwise obscure and under appreciated sport!

Image Credit: WikiCommons

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Olympic Curling: Venue, Team, Rules, Scoring

olympic curlingPublic domain

• The Sheet

Olympic CurlingWikiCommons

The layout of the Sheet

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Curling is played on an area of curated ice known as a sheet which generally runs 150 feet long by 15 feet wide. For the Olympic games, these sheets are created by the Ice Meisters. Ice for curling is not smooth because ice meisters use special pebbling cans to spray droplets of water on the ice to form a pebbled surface. The pebbled surface helps reduce friction and allow the stone to curl.

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• “The Rink” – The Curling Team by Position

While this would seem the appropriate name for the entire venue, the rink  is actually the proper term for a curling team. The rink is comprised of four players: The Lead, The Second, The Vice Skip and The Skip.

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The Lead

The Lead is the player that throws the first 2 rocks of an end. The Lead then sweeps for the rest of the end.

The Second

The Second, as the name suggests, throws the next two rocks and sweeps the remaining ends.

The Vice Skip

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The Vice Skips throws in the third spot, again throwing for 2 ends and sweeping in the remainder.

The Skip

The Skip is the last to throw. The Skip is also the captain of the team. For the first 6 throws of the end, the skip will stand on the opposite side of the sheet near the house and call the throws, similar to a catcher in baseball.  Sometimes the skip will hold his broom as a reference point for the thrower and the sweepers as well as yell out commands for the sweepers to help guide them to the point they are aiming towards.

• The House

A house design, similar to a bullseye Public Domain

Standard layout for a curling house

At the end of the sheet is an area called the house. It looks like a large bulls eye and the large dot in the middle is referred to as the button. The object is to get your rocks as close to the button as possible.

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• Scoring

A game of curling has 8-10 ends, nearest in comparison to an inning in baseball. A given end is completed when all 16 rocks have been thrown. Only one team can score during an end. The team with a rock closest to the button collects the points for that end. They get a point for each rock in the house. At the conclusion of the 8 ends, the team with the most points wins the match.

One of the appealing aspects of the sport is the simplicity of the equipment. Only a few items are needed to play the game.

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Anne DeFranco is a veteran special education professional, and is the mother of two sons with autism. Anne has published extensively on the subject of autism for TGNR. Anne DeFranco joined TGNR in 2016, serving as a Senior Contributor-at-Large.

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