January 25, 2022
(Reuters) – Focus on curling at the 2022 Beijing Olympics:
THE ABSOLUTE BASICS
* Two teams of four players use brooms to slide granite stones on a rectangular sheet of ice towards a target area which comprises of four concentric circles.
* Teams employ one player to throw a stone while two team mates sweep, with the aim of delivering the stone as close as possible to the centre of target area.
* The team with the stone closest to the centre scores a point. A match takes place over 10 ends, similar to an inning in baseball, with each team having eight stones per end.
HOW MANY MEDALS?
There are three gold medals up for grabs, one each in the men’s, women’s events and mixed doubles event.
WHAT HAPPENED IN PYEONGCHANG?
The United States men’s team beat double defending Olympic champions Canada in the semi-finals before stunning Sweden to claim their first gold.
South Korea’s ‘Garlic Girls’ enjoyed a fairlytale run to the final but fell to an experienced Sweden side, while Canada failed to medal in the men’s or women’s events for the first time.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN BEIJING?
Sweden’s women’s team will be one of the big favourites to win despite finishing fourth in the 2021 World Championships.
Their male counterparts will look to claim an elusive first Olympic gold while reigning champions United States could repeat their 2018 success.
The mixed doubles field has been expanded from eight teams to 10, bringing the number in line with the men’s and women’s events.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?
Feb. 2 to Feb. 20.
WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?
The National Aquatics Centre, also known as the ‘Ice Cube’, which was originally built for the 2008 Summer Games.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Curling is related to bowls, boules and shuffleboard and was first played in late medieval Scotland.
Men’s curling was included on the inaugural Winter Olympics programme in 1924 — the results of which were retroactively made official in 2006 — but only returned as a medal sport at Nagano in 1998.
WELL FANCY THAT
In the 1965 movie “Help!”, the Beatles participate in a game of curling only for the villain to replace one of the stones with a bomb, which goes off and leaves a gaping hole in the ice.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)