They say that every­thing new is well-for­got­ten old. Frankly, this apho­rism is not always true, but as far as curl­ing is con­cerned, it is 100% true.

What it is?

For those who watch the Win­ter Olympics with­out look­ing up from their TV screens, this ques­tion may seem strange, but for the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple in our coun­try it will seem absolute­ly log­i­cal. And this is not sur­pris­ing. Despite its cen­turies-old his­to­ry, curl­ing is prac­ti­cal­ly unknown in the CIS, and in Ukraine in par­tic­u­lar.

So what is curl­ing? Curl­ing is a sports game played on an ice rink in which two com­pet­ing teams alter­nate­ly launch spe­cial sports equip­ment (they are called “stones”) for accu­ra­cy in the direc­tion of a tar­get marked on the ice (“house”). The main goal of the game is to place your stone in the cen­ter of the house and in turn pre­vent your oppo­nent from doing the same. At first glance, the game seems sim­ple, but the abun­dance of tech­niques and tac­ti­cal moves make it very spec­tac­u­lar and unpre­dictable not only for its par­tic­i­pants, but also for spec­ta­tors.


There are two com­mon ver­sions of the ori­gin of curl­ing. Nowa­days it is dif­fi­cult to say which of them is more truth­ful, there­fore both are giv­en in var­i­ous sources. We will do the same.

Accord­ing to the first ver­sion, curl­ing appeared in Scot­land at the begin­ning of the 16th cen­tu­ry, which is con­firmed by a curl­ing pro­jec­tile (“stone”) found at the bot­tom of the dry Lake Dun­ban, on the sur­face of which, appar­ent­ly, the date of its man­u­fac­ture is stamped — 1511. In favor of the Scot­tish ori­gin of this game is the fact that ref­er­ences to the game, accord­ing to the descrip­tion sim­i­lar to curl­ing, were found in medieval chron­i­cles dat­ed 1541 and pre­served to this day in the Scot­tish abbey of Pais­ley.

But there are also facts that indi­cate that curl­ing may have orig­i­nat­ed in Hol­land. Two sur­viv­ing paint­ings (dat­ing from 1565) by artist Pieter Brueghel depict Dutch peas­ants play­ing a game resem­bling curl­ing on ice.

But giv­en the fact that in the 16th cen­tu­ry there were very close cul­tur­al and trade ties between Scot­land and the Nether­lands, it is still dif­fi­cult to draw an unam­bigu­ous con­clu­sion about which coun­try is the ances­tor of this won­der­ful game.


The mod­ern name of the game was first men­tioned in the 17th cen­tu­ry in a poem by the Scot­tish poet Hen­ry Adam­son. More­over, this name did not come from the Eng­lish word curl — mean­ing a curl, by anal­o­gy with the traces left by the move­ment of a stone on ice, but from the Scot­tish word curr, which trans­lates as a low growl or roar. This ver­sion is explained by the fact that when a gran­ite stone moves along a rough sur­face of ice, a char­ac­ter­is­tic sound aris­es dur­ing fric­tion, and today in some parts of Scot­land curl­ing is still called “play­ing roar­ing stones”.

The first offi­cial rules of the game, prac­ti­cal­ly no dif­fer­ent from mod­ern ones, appeared at the begin­ning of the 19th cen­tu­ry. The game became more and more pop­u­lar and in the same cen­tu­ry it began to be played on the Amer­i­can con­ti­nent. And in 1924, the first demon­stra­tion curl­ing com­pe­ti­tions were even held at the Win­ter Olympics in Cha­monix. In 1959, the first Men’s World Curl­ing Cham­pi­onship was held. It was held in two Scot­tish cities — Falkirk and Edin­burgh, and the team from Cana­da became the first world cham­pi­on. Since then, World Cham­pi­onships have been held reg­u­lar­ly. 20 years lat­er, the first World Wom­en’s Curl­ing Cham­pi­onship was held. It was also held in Scot­land, in the city of Perth.

In 1998, curl­ing received the high­est call­ing — it was rec­og­nized as an Olympic sport, and in the same year, the first sets of medals among men and women were played at the Win­ter Olympics in Nagano (Japan).

In Tsarist Rus­sia, curl­ing first appeared at the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry, but it did not become a mass phe­nom­e­non, and after the rev­o­lu­tion, it was for­got­ten for some time. The next attempt took place already in the USSR, in the ear­ly 30s of the last cen­tu­ry, but it was also unsuc­cess­ful.

Curl­ing rules

Curl­ing is played on a rec­tan­gu­lar crowd­ed area mea­sur­ing 44.5 by 4.32 meters. Dur­ing the game, a con­stant tem­per­a­ture of the ice must be main­tained — about ‑5 ° C. At one end of the site is a lined tar­get, called the “house”, its diam­e­ter is 3.66 meters

There are two impor­tant acces­sories in the game, which we will dwell on in more detail:

Stone — a cylin­dri­cal sports pro­jec­tile with an annu­lar slid­ing sur­face, to the upper sur­face of which a spe­cial han­dle is screwed with a bolt. Accord­ing to offi­cial rules, a stone can­not weigh more than 19.96 kg, or have a cir­cum­fer­ence of more than 91.44 cm, or a height less than 11.43 cm.

curl­ing brush com­plet­ed by each par­tic­i­pant of the game. Its main pur­pose is to rub ice (sweep) in front of a mov­ing stone. This must be done in order to melt the ice and there­by change the tra­jec­to­ry or speed of the stone.

The game is played by two teams of four peo­ple each. Each team has a cap­tain (skip), who directs the team’s actions, and a vice-cap­tain (vice-skip). The game itself con­sists of 8 or 10 peri­ods called ends. Dur­ing one end, the teams alter­nate­ly release eight stones, i.e. each play­er on the court dur­ing the end throws 2 stones.

Dur­ing the play of the stone, the play­er push­es off from the start­ing block and, gain­ing speed, throws it towards the house, after which the rest of the team mem­bers sweep the ice in front of the stone to give it the desired speed and direc­tion of move­ment. The throw­ing tech­nique depends on the tasks fac­ing the team, but all of them can be divid­ed into sev­er­al main ones: put your stone in the “house”, or push the oppo­nen­t’s stone out of there, or cov­er your stone, stand­ing in the house, so that the oppo­nent, in turn, could not knock it out .

It is impor­tant to note that dur­ing the first four throws in each end, teams are pro­hib­it­ed from hit­ting oppo­nent stones that are between the end line and the cen­ter line of the house, but are not in the house. Oth­er­wise, the judges remove the offend­er’s stone from the plat­form and restore the posi­tion that exist­ed before the throw. But even in this case there is a trick — you can’t knock out stones, but you can move them from advan­ta­geous posi­tions.

The game begins with a draw, which deter­mines the right of the first throw. In each sub­se­quent end, this right pass­es to the los­ing team, and in case of a draw, it remains with the pre­vi­ous team.

At the end of each end, scor­ing is made, stones locat­ed inside the house are allowed to count. The vic­to­ry in the end goes to the team whose stone is clos­est to the cen­ter of the house. If there is only one such stone, then the team gets 1 point, if there are 2 such stones, then 2 points. It is easy to see that most often the score of the played end looks like 1:0, or 0:0 in case of a draw, less often 2:0 and very rarely the score is 3:0.

The win­ner of the game is the team with the most points in all ends. In the event of a tie after ten ends, an addi­tion­al extra end is played to deter­mine the win­ner.

Curl­ing in Kyiv

In Ukraine, there is the Curl­ing Fed­er­a­tion of Ukraine, whose ath­letes train in the sports com­plex “Nau­ka”, which is locat­ed in Kyiv on Ver­nad­sky Street 32.

And recent­ly, every­one has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to play curl­ing. You can do this in the new shop­ping and enter­tain­ment cen­ter “Dream Town”, where the first and only curl­ing field in Ukraine is locat­ed.

I would like to believe that the third attempt will be more suc­cess­ful, and curl­ing will become a tru­ly mass sport and a way of active leisure.

Author: Alexan­der Kuznetsov

Arti­cle pro­tect­ed by copy­right and relat­ed rights. When using and reprint­ing the mate­r­i­al, an active link to the healthy lifestyle por­tal is required!


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