What is curling, and how does it work?
Think of curling as lawn bowls… on ice. The aim of the game is to get more of your ‘stones’ closer to the bullseye (called a ‘house’) than your opponent.
Each team throws eight stones in a round, with points decided only after the final stone is thrown. A game is made up of ten rounds (known as ‘ends’ in curling).
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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, and have made it through to the semi-finals already this year.
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.
— Eve Muirhead MBE (@evemuirhead) January 31, 2018
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?
The men’s team were sadly knocked out after the round robin matches, but the the women’s team are still in contention for a medal after making it to the semi-finals in Pyeongchang 2018., according to former Olympic curler Jackie Lockhart.
“This year, without a shadow of a doubt, the girls will be on the podium,” former Olympic curler Jackie Lockhart told Radio Times before the start of the Olympics. “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.
When to watch Team GB’s curling teams live on TV?
The competition began on Wednesday 14th February 2018, but is now into the semi-final stage.
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
Friday 23rd February
11.05am: Women’s semi-finals
GB vs Sweden
South Korea vs Japan
11.05am: Women’s bronze medal game
Women’s gold medal game