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 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
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