Although it is one of the oldest team sports in the world, curling has only just begun to receive the recognition that its devoted followers believe it deserves. Curler John Shuster, a five-time Olympian, made history in 2022 as the first curler to act as a flag bearer for Team USA at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Curling is a popular Olympic sport, but even if you’re not a fan, it’s worth checking out at least once every four years. After all, the object of the game is to guide a block of granite towards a bullseye as someone furiously sweeps the ice with a broom. The games can go on for hours, feature shouting, and combine aspects of shuffleboard, chess, and hockey. It is perplexing, but in a fascinating way. Just ask Mr. T.
There’s a button in the middle of the house, which is the target area. The team who played the shot rock in an end will receive at least one point for that end. The shot rock is the rock closest to the button. (Consider the conclusion like an inning in baseball.)
Stones with yellow and red grips will be used in the Olympics. For example, if the nearest rock is red but the next closest is yellow, the red team would receive a point. (In each end, the opposing team is the only one to score.)
Summarizing The Data
Two points are awarded to the team whose stones are closest to the button. When there are three stones, each one counts as a point, and so on until either an opposing rock is closer or all of the stones have been removed from the structure.
In most cases, the players will agree between themselves on which rocks count as goals based on a visual inspection. A referee will step in with a device that extends from the button to determine which option is closer if the contest is too close to call.
The hammer confers a significant advantage on the team that throws last in an end. The hammer can be used to smash the opponent’s rock(s) or to aim at the button (a draw) in a variety of different ends.
Since the team that scores with the hammer on the last rock loses it for the next end, even a single point with the hammer might be seen as a loss.
Any goal scored by the team without the hammer is considered a steal.
If after playing all eight stones there are still no stones in the house, the end is considered blank, and the hammer remains in play.
Sometimes teams would purposely blank an end to keep the last-rock advantage in the next one, especially as the game nears its final ends and the hammer becomes more valuable than a single point.
Eight stones are thrown per end in the game of curling when played in a standard four-player team format. Despite the fact that eight points is theoretically possible, no athlete has ever scored eight points in an Olympic game. (Teams often employ some of their stones as guards, protecting their scoring rocks from an opponent’s takeout, so it is unusual for a team to even attempt to put all eight stones in the house.)
In the round robin portion of the 2014 Olympics, Great Britain’s Eve Muirhead scored a seven-ender against the United States. The United States team captained by John Shuster won the Pyeongchang tournament with a five-ender versus Sweden.