The one Winter Olympic sport that I might watch


When I said that I had no interest in watching any of the Olympic events, I was wrong. There is one event that intrigues me and that is curling. That fascinates me. It looks like a sport of great skill and precision and teamwork.

All that I know about the sport comes from this report by Stephen Colbert broadcast at the time of the 2010 Vancouver games.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

(These clips aired on January 4, 2010. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    @Cuttlefish: Indeed. The US team’s play, however was not so spectacular. I am very glad to live near enough the Canadian border that we get CBC on our cable, although the curling match was on CNBC or some such.

  2. the newfie says

    I’ve always loved watching, and took up the game about 10 years ago. Great cardio workout with all the brushing. Getting to play against a two-time world championship seniors team at my local rink is pretty cool also.

  3. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Can’t watch the clip, unfortunately. Having curled in the past, my favourite part of the sport is that if you play it right you don’t have to put down your beer very often.

  4. Rob says

    I got do some curling these holidays. Fantastic fun. Much more so than I thought it would be. Also, very hard to do well.

  5. says

    Growing up in Canada, curling is a passion for many. Even those who can’t play love to watch, the Brier (men’s national championship) and Tournament of Hearts (women’s) are heavily watched every spring, as much as the Stanley Cup playoffs. In many ways, I miss curling more than hockey since moving abroad.

    Unlike many strategic games, curling isn’t a game of secrets. You could tell your opponent your team’s entire strategy before the game begins and it wouldn’t matter. What matters and determines who wins is who makes the shots. People often deride the game as “shuffleboard on ice”, but it would be more accurate to say it’s like baseball pitchers throwing curve balls three times as far, at a space a quarter of the size.

    The other great thing about curling is the sportsmanship. It’s a game where players police themselves, where cheating and bad sportsmanship are frowned upon and quickly pointed out, even by players’ own teammates (with very rare exceptions). There are referees, but they are rarely involved except when measuring the rocks’ distance in the house. Even the fans will get involved, getting vocal when a player “burns” (touches) a rock or does something unethical (e.g. blocking another player’s attempt to sweep rocks). Teams will take notice of fan reactions.

  6. Mano Singham says

    @left0ver1under,

    I am liking curling even more. Those are exactly the qualities I like in a sport.

    Last night I was at a restaurant and a distant TV was showing the curling game between Norway and the US. I was too far away to see anything on the screen or hear anything and since I don’t know the game I could only hazard a guess as to whether any given ‘curl’ (is that even correct?) was good or not because the players did not give any clue. They did not whoop or holler or pump their fists or beat their chests or taunt their opponents or genuflect or point to the skies to thank their god, the routine antics in football that so disgust me.

  7. Trebuchet says

    As I was watching curling last night it suddenly occurred to me that there’s no real reason to have separate men’s and women’s events. They could compete against each other, or have mixed teams, and it would make no difference. Wouldn’t that be something!

  8. Dunc says

    There is a form called Mixed Curling, in which each team consists of two men and two women. It doesn’t feature at the Olympics though.

    I’m not sure if amateur leagues are split by gender.

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    Scottish sports, like Scottish cuisine, seem to be based on a dare.

    “Ah bit ye wooldnae dae thes fur several hoors.”

  10. rq says

    “Ah bit ye wooldnae dae thes fur several hoors.”

    It’s actually not difficult to get wrapped up in curling. For several hours. I’ll admit, though, that I didn’t enjoy watching it until I’d played it a few times and understood the rules – then it became incredibly exciting. And yes, I would agree that it is an ideal mixed sport.
    The only sport that tops it (for me) is skeleton.

    (Oh, and for a mildly amusing movie about the excitement of curling, see Men with Brooms. Sweeeeeeeep!!!)

  11. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    My family likes to watch curling. I am also partial to the biathlon, just because they have to ski like mad, then try to shoot accurately, then ski again.

  12. Lonely Panda, e.s.l. says

    The other great thing about curling is the sportsmanship.

    When the stone passes a certain point, the opposing team is allowed to start sweeping to try to keep the stone moving so that it reaches a non-scoring or at least a less advantageous position. I’ve been in a game where the opposing team’s player was obviously about to do this, but slipped and fell down, so someone on our team immediately took his place and was able to sweep the stone out of play. What other sport would this ever be considered the right thing to do?

    There is a form called Mixed Curling, in which each team consists of two men and two women. It doesn’t feature at the Olympics though.

    I’m not sure if amateur leagues are split by gender.

    Within our local club, we have all men, all women, and mixed teams all playing together in the same league. The outcome is pretty much based on the skill of the players and how well they work together as a team rather than raw strength. I can envision that if you are skilled enough to pull off complex hits involving multiple stones that the additional momentum available to a stronger player could be a deciding factor, but in most cases it’s just precision and teamwork.

  13. Mano Singham says

    @ Lonely Panda, e.s.l.

    I am getting to like curling more and more, even though I’ve never actually seen a game except on TV.

    Talking of slipping, I notice that the sweepers don’t wear skates. Are there special shoes to prevent them sliding all over the place?

  14. Lonely Panda, e.s.l. says

    Talking of slipping, I notice that the sweepers don’t wear skates. Are there special shoes to prevent them sliding all over the place?

    The shoe for your dominant side has a rubber grippy bottom. The shoe for the non-dominant side (that you’re sliding on when throwing the stone) has a Teflon or sometimes steel bottom for super slickness. Since this has uniformly very little friction in all directions, you need a little more awareness of your balance than with a skate, which easily slides forward and back but still resists side-to-side motion.

    If you pay close attention, you might notice a player pull something onto their sliding shoe before they go to sweep. This is a “gripper”, a high friction textured rubber surface that covers up and so temporarily replaces the Teflon or steel bottom. However, some players (those with better balance and coordination than me) are happy to use only one foot for traction and continue to slide along on the other.

    If you are just starting out, or don’t have money for specialized shoes, you can also just use regular rubber soled shoes and then strap on a Teflon slider. In this case, you take off the slider rather than put on the gripper when you want more traction. If you are playing at the level of games that are televised, you of course won’t see this, but curling does not require expensive equipment/attire for a casual player.

  15. says

    For those who haven’t seen it (the lack of mention suggests it), it’s not always a safe sport. The Russian skip lost his footing in the game against Switzerland when a rock hit his foot. He fell over and hit the side of his head on the ice. Fortunately, he seems to have gotten no worse than a headache.

    http://youtu.be/ffghEOFt6p8

    Russia won that game, 7-6, which tells me that have some good players. The Russians and Chinese (both competitions) have been surprisingly competitive, while the US and Germans have been surprisingly bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *