Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles. It's like a target and is called the 'house'

A curling stone

The 'stones' slide towards a target. ©iStock

The 'stones' slide towards a target. ©iStock

The curling 'stone' is 30 centimetres in circumference and weighs about 20 kilograms. It slides on a rim at the bottom of the stone.

Curling is related to bowls, boules and shuffleboard.

How to play curling

Two teams of four players, take turns sliding the heavy, polished granite stones, which are also called rocks, across the ice towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. Points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house.  When both teams have thrown all of their stones the scores are added and the team with the highest score wins.

The starting point is called the 'hack'. As soon as the stone has been sent sliding down the rink, two of the curler's team mates use brooms to sweep the ice ahead of the stone to make it slide faster and straighter. The broom is also used by a curler to clean all frost and ice off the stone before it is sent down the ice.

 The leader of the team is called the 'skip' and he or she tells the other players where to aim the stone as well as when and where to sweep. 

Curling at the Olympics

Curling has been an official sport in the Winter Olympic Games since the 1998 Winter Olympics. There was competition for both men and women.

Mixed doubles has now been added to the Olympics in the most upcoming Olympic Games in 2018.

Brooms are used to sweep frost away from the stone's path. ©iStock

Brooms are used to sweep frost away from the stone's path. ©iStock

History

 A group of people playing on a frozen lake in Austria ©iStock

 A group of people playing on a frozen lake in Austria ©iStock

Curling began in Scotland more than 400 years ago. It is now played both outdoors and on  indoor rinks in many countries around the world.

 

Read more about this sport:

http://www.olympic.org/curling

Watch a video about curling:

http://www.olympic.org/videos/curling