The captain of the team – the ‘skip’ – decides on strategy and issues instructions to the rest of the team. But the tactics can be incredibly complex, with teams sometimes trying to set up blocks to stop their opponent scoring, or smashing their rivals’ stones out of the target area.
“Each end is like a game of chess,” says Steve Cram, a true curling convert who will be in the commentary box for the BBC in Pyeongchang 2018. “The person who throws first is setting up the end, always thinking two or three moves ahead. You’re also reacting to what the other team are doing – you see players try to make big shots, blasting the opposition stones out of the way or squeezing past them more deftly.”
Why is it called curling?
The person throwing the stone will gently twist it as they release it. This rotation will mean the stone ‘curls’ slightly to the left or right as it travels down the ice.
What’s with the sweeping?
Brushing the ice in front of the stone makes the stone go faster and curl further. It means that teams have much greater control of the stone even after they’ve let the throw go. The skip will tell the sweepers how much and how hard they need to sweep. Watch the video above for more.
Who’s on Team GB’s curling team?
There are two GB teams competing at Pyeongchang 2018, a men’s and a women’s team.
The women’s team is made up of the same team that won bronze in Sochi four years ago.
Eve Muirhead is the skip. She’s 27 years old, and this is her third Winter Olympics. Her Dad Gordon was also a curling champion, so the sport runs in the family.
She’s joined by Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray and Kelly Schafer.
The men’s team is led by 22-year-old Kyle Smith, with his younger brother Cammy also in the team.
Brothers Thomas and Glen Muirhead (yes, Eve Muirhead is their sister) are in the GB men’s team, with Kyle Waddell completing the five-strong line-up.
Can Team GB win a medal?
Both the men and the women’s team have a great chance at competing for medals, according to former Olympic curler Jackie Lockhart.
“This year, without a shadow of a doubt, the girls will be on the podium,” she says. I’m really confident they can go one better than in the last Olympics and get to that final.”
The women’s team won bronze in Sochi 2014, but will be aiming to make the Gold Medal game this time round.
As for the men, “a medal is definitely not out of the question” according to Lockhart. “They’re a very young team and some people are saying it’s an Olympics too early for them. I don’t go along with that. If they can withstand the whole circus of the Olympic Games then I’ve got a hunch they’ll do really well. They’ve performed brilliantly on the world circuit and they’re coming into good form.”
When to watch Team GB’s curling teams live on TV?
The men’s and women’s curling competition begins on Wednesday 14th February 2018. The competition is made up of a series of round robin matches, with play-offs, semi-finals and finals to follow.
Check out the full schedule for Team GB’s curlers below. All matches will be broadcast live on the BBC and Eurosport – check listings for full details.
Women’s Team GB curling matches and schedule – watch live on BBC and Eurosport
Wednesday 14th February 2018
5.05am: GB vs Olympic Athletes from Russia
00.05am: GB vs USA
11.05am: GB vs China
5.05am: GB vs Denmark
11.05am: GB vs South Korea
5.05am: GB vs Sweden
11.05am: GB vs Switzerland
5.05am: GB vs Japan
00.05am: GB vs Canada
00.05am: Women’s tie-breaker games
11.05am: Women’s semi-finals
11.05am: Women’s bronze medal game
Women’s gold medal game
Men’s Team GB curling matches and schedule – watch live on BBC and Eurosport