While the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics is on February 9th, viewers have the opportunity to begin watching the wonderful game of curling on February 7th. With the addition of mixed doubles to this year’s Olympic program, there will be 18 straight days of curling in South Korea. Below is a list of things you should know before the games start.
History of Curling in the Olympics
Curling was first introduced at the 1924 Winter Olympics held in Chamonix, France. The sport then reappeared as a men’s demonstration sport during the 1932 Winter Olympics in New York. For many years, curling was set aside; the sport returned again as a demonstration sport for both men and women in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. Curling was officially added to the Olympic program as a medal sport in the 1998 Winter Olympics and a women’s and men’s event has remained ever since. In 2015, the International Olympic Committee decided to add a new event, Mixed Doubles, to be played in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Team USA Curlers
Mixed Doubles: Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton (siblings who are also playing with their respective women’s and men’s teams)
Curling Schedule (click for more detailed schedule)
- Mixed Doubles: February 7-13
- Men’s: February 13-24
- Women’s: February 14-24
What is Mixed Doubles?
A team is composed of one woman and one man. Each team throws five stones per end. Unlike men’s and women’s curling, mixed doubles games are eight ends. In addition, to teams alternating rocks, players on each mixed doubles team alternate and therefore do not throw consecutive stones (i.e. player 1: delivers 1st, 3rd, and 5th rock). Another major difference from regular play is that two stones, one from each team, are placed on predetermined locations on the center line. In most ends, the team with the hammer (last stone advantage) will start with their stone placed at the back of the four foot circle, while the other team’s stone will begin as a center guard.
Few additional rules
- Take-outs are not allowed until the fourth overall stone in each end
- If the end is blanked, the team who delivered the first stone has the choice of stone placement the following end
- Extra ends are used to break ties
- Powerplay: each team is allowed to use once every game in an end where they have last stone advantage, moves pre-placed stones to one side of the house (i.e. corner guard with stone behind it in the house)
Written by: Shannon Brown