Olympic Curling Equipment
The most important and widely recognized piece of equipment in curling is the broom. In its beginnings, players used actual straw bristle brooms. In modern Olympic curling, brooms are made from synthetic materials. The purpose of the broom is exactly what it seems: to clear the path of the stone from any debris. Should the stone come across a piece of debris or an imperfection in the ice, it may begin to curl in an unintended direction. The sweeping motion also raises the temperature of the ice slightly to help alleviate friction between the stone and the ice, best ensuring it travels the path intended by the thrower.
Curling stones are made of a dense granite quarried in Ailse Craig, Scotland. For Olympic style competition, the stones are 42 pounds, polished and have a either a red or yellow handle attached. Stones are kept on the ice for 72 hours before play in order to cool them down and avoid unintended melting of the sheet during game play.
While special shoes are made for the curling, many curlers use regular sneakers and apply a slider to the sliding foot. This is generally a pad made from a slippery substance such as Teflon to help the curler glide down the ice with the stone while simultaniously sweeping. Conversely, the other shoe uses a sole with good traction. Some players use a slider that can be strapped on and removed.