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Winter Olympics: What is Curling?

Olympic curling has taken on the ice. Everyone’s favorite icy alternative to shuffleboard.

The playing surface in curling is called a sheet. Sheet dimensions can vary, but are usually around 150 feet long and 15 feet wide. The sheet is covered in tiny droplets of water that become ice and cause the stones to curl or deviate from a straight path.

At each end of the sheet there is a target that looks like a bullseye. These targets are known as “The House.” The center of the house is known as the “button”. Basically the object of the game is to get your stones closer to the button then the other team.

When the stone touches the pebble there is friction, which can slow down the stone and make it “curl” away from the straight path. Obviously the friction isn’t a good thing, but sweeping helps combat the problem. ht e sweeping motion raises the temperature of the ice by a degree or two, which diminishes the friction between the feeble and the stone keeping the stone moving in ¬†straight path.

When keeping score at the end both teams will send 8 total stones down the sheet. When all 16 stones have been sent, the team with the stone that’s the closest to the button effectively wins in the end. If neither team manage to keep a stone in the house during an end, its known as a “blank end” and no points are scored.

Olympics curling matches last for ten ends unless there is a tie, in which case is goes into extra ends, curling equivalent to overtime.