The 2022 Beijing Olympics are beginning and there’s one sport that may grab your attention.
It’s a simple one that is played with polished rocks gliding on a sheet of ice as participants sweep.
Here are five things to know about the unusual sport.
1. Curling is one of 15 sports in this year’s Olympic games. It was first introduced in the first Winter Olympics in 1924, but the results were not official until 2006 according to the International Olympic Committee.
2. It is played with two teams facing off on a nearly 150-foot sheet of ice that are trying to zero in on a target, getting closest to the center mark, The Washington Post reported. They use large stones made of granite to hit the House or target, according to the rules.
Each team is made up of four players in the men’s and women’s events. Mixed doubles have two athletes – a man and a woman – on each team, WRC reported.
3. There is a World Curling Federation that says while an exact date of when curling started is difficult to pin down, it may have started in Scotland and the “Low Countries” in 16th-century Europe on frozen lochs, canals and ponds. Scotland is also where the first recognized clubs and first rules were documented, the Post reported.
4. Curling is played by a person sliding a stone on the ice and allowing it to curl, or turn, by twisting it when they release it. The path the stone takes can be straightened by sweeping the ice in front of the rock, also allowing it to travel further. Scoring by the placement of a team’s stone closest to the center of the target — also called the “tee” or “button.” A point is given for every winning team’s stone that is closer to the tee, as long as it is not further than six feet away. Teams take turns sending their stones to the button.
5. Teams get “thinking time” during a match of up to 38 minutes total. If a team uses all its “thinking time” they forfeit. After 10 ends, or rounds, whichever team has the most points wins, but a team can concede in fewer rounds if they don’t think they can make up the difference. An average championship match lasts about three hours, according to the World Curling Federation.