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Olympic Curling

Olympic Curling
  • Olympic Debut: 01/25/1924

The Canadian Olympic Curling Team

Canada, with eight Olympic medals, has been a dominating force in professional curling over the last decades, only rivalled by Scandinavian teams such as Sweden, Norway and Finland.

At the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Canada’s Olympic Curling Team will be aiming for more gold.

Both the men’s and the women’s curling teams are considered favourites going into the Sochi Winter Olympics, where they hope to claim Canada’s third gold for men and second for women. The men will be represented by Brad Jacobs (skip), Ryan Fry (third), E.J. Harnden (second), Ryan Harnden (lead) and Caleb Flaxey (fifth).

The women’s team includes Jennifer Jones (skip), Kaitlyn Lawes (third), Jill Officer (second), Dawn McEwen (lead) and Kirsten Wall (fifth).

Take a look at where Canada’s Sochi 2014 Curling athletes call home

Learn more about Olympic Curling

Olympic Curling Rulebook

There are ten teams in each tournament, which begin with a round robin in which all teams play nine games. The top four teams based on win-loss record advance to the semifinals where the first-ranked team plays the fourth-ranked and the second-ranked team plays the third-ranked.

The semifinal winners advance to play for the gold and silver medals while the semifinal losers play for bronze. Games are divided into ten ends, but extra ends will be used if a game is tied after ten ends. An end is complete when the four players on the two teams have all delivered two stones apiece.

The order in which stones are thrown is based on the players’ positions, traditionally leads first, then seconds, then thirds (also known as vice-skips) and finally skips. Players alternate throwing stones with the curler of the same position on the opposing team. Stones are targeted towards the house, which is segmented into four rings. Only one team can score points in any one end, with one point awarded for every stone that is closer to the button (centre of the house) than any stone belonging to the other team. The team that scores will deliver the first stone of the next end.

If an end is blanked (no team scores), then the team that had last stone in that end retains last stone in the next end. The Games employ the four-rock, free guard zone rule. This means that the first four stones of an end cannot be removed from play by the opposing team until after the fourth stone has been delivered. If this occurs, the displaced stones are returned to their original positions. Each team has 73 minutes of playing time for a ten-end game.

A Brief History of Curling

Curling is widely believed to be one of the world’s oldest team sports, with the first written evidence dating back to 16th century Scotland. That is where the first clubs were founded as well as where the first rules were drawn up.

A men’s curling event was included at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924.

The 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid featured Olympic curling as a demonstration sport, with four teams representing Canada and four teams representing the U.S.

A German version of curling was a demonstration sport both at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 as well as at Innsbruck in 1964.

Curling would be absent from the Games until it was included as a demonstration sport again at Calgary 1988 and Albertville 1992.

For decades, Olympic curling continued to be a demonstration sport. However, in February 2006, just before the start of the Turin Winter Games, the IOC confirmed that Chamonix 1924 was the official debut of Olympic curling.

Curling gained official medal status for the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Olympics when both men’s and women’s events were included. Canada and Switzerland won curling gold.

A History of Curling in Canada

Curling was brought to Canada in 1760 by a division of the Scottish Highlanders who reshaped cannon balls and curled on the Saint-Charles River in Quebec City. When the Scottish settlers moved west, they took the sport with them and curling rinks became the main social focus of many prairie towns in Canada. There are now 50 member associations of the World Curling Federation, but Canada still accounts for more than 90 per cent of the world’s curlers.

Canada’s Olympic Curling Glory

Canada’s women’s team, Sandra Schmirler, Jan Betker, Joan McCusker, Marcia Gudereit and Atina Ford, made the 1998 Winter Games even more memorable by winning curling gold - the nation’s first. The men’s team won silver.

Canada’s Olympic Curling Trials, the famed Roar of the Rings, were created that very same year.

Canada’s first Olympic curling medal was followed by the men’s team taking silver and the women grabbing bronze at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Four years later, at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, the men’s team upset Finland in the final and captured Canada’s first curling gold medal in the men’s event. But the medals did not end there: the women’s team took another curling bronze for Canada.

At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, Canada’s curling men and women brought their a-game. The men, who beat Norway, captured Canada’s second curling gold medal while the women landed silver.

Canada looks to add to their current three Olympic gold medals at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.

Events

Men and Women

There are ten teams in each tournament, which begin with a round robin in which all teams play nine games. The top four teams based on win-loss record advance to the semifinals where the first-ranked team plays the fourth-ranked and the second-ranked team plays the third-ranked. The semifinal winners advance to play for the gold and silver medals while the semifinal losers play for bronze. Games are divided into ten ends, but extra ends will be used if a game is tied after ten ends. An end is complete when the four players on the two teams have all delivered two stones apiece. The order in which stones are thrown is based on the players’ positions, traditionally leads first, then seconds, then thirds (also known as vice-skips) and finally skips. Players alternate throwing stones with the curler of the same position on the opposing team. Stones are targeted towards the house which is segmented into four rings. Only one team can score points in any one end, with one point awarded for every stone that is closer to the button (centre of the house) than any stone belonging to the other team. The team that scores will deliver the first stone of the next end. If an end is blanked (no team scores), then the team that had last stone in that end retains last stone in the next end. The Games employ the four-rock, free guard zone rule. This means that the first four stones of an end cannot be removed from play by the opposing team until after the fourth stone has been delivered. If this occurs, the displaced stones are returned to their original positions. Each team has 73 minutes of playing time for a ten-end game.

Canadian Medallists

Open/Close

FINISH:

ATHLETE:

GAME:

EVENT:

RESULT:

GoldSandra Schmirler, Jan Betker, Joan McCusker, Marcia Gudereit, Atina FordNagano 1998Women -
GoldBrad Gushue, Russ Howard, Mark Nichols, Jamie Korab, Mike AdamTurin 2006Men -
GoldKevin Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert, Adam EnrightVancouver 2010Men -
SilverMike Harris, Richard Hart, Collin Mitchell, George Karrys, Paul SavageNagano 1998Men -
SilverKevin Martin, Don Walchuk, Carter Rycroft, Don Bartlett, Ken TralnbergSalt Lake City 2002Men -
SilverCheryl Bernard, Susan O’Connor, Carolyn Darbyshire, Cori Bartel, Kristie MooreVancouver 2010Women -
BronzeKelley Law, Julie Skinner, Georgina Wheatcroft, Diane Nelson, Cheryl NobleSalt Lake City 2002Women -
BronzeShannon Kleibrink, Amy Nixon, Christine Keshen, Glenys Bakker, Sandra JenkinsTurin 2006Women -
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