Curling is a team sport played by two teams of four players on a rectangular sheet of ice. Its nickname, “The Roaring Game”, originates from the rumbling sound the 44-pound (19.96kg) granite stones make when they travel across the ice.
One of the world’s oldest team sports, curling originated in the 16th century in Scotland, where games were played during winter on frozen ponds and lochs. The earliest-known curling stones came from the Scottish regions of Stirling and Perth and date from 1511. In the 1600s, stones with handles were introduced.
The first curling clubs appeared in Scotland, with the Grand Caledonian Curling Club, formed in 1838, being responsible for formulating the first official rules of the sport. The Club was renamed the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1843. The key 20th-century developments in the sport have been the standardisation of the stone, the development of the slide delivery, and the use of indoor, refrigerated ice facilities.
Men’s curling was included in the Olympic programme in 1924 at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. It was then dropped, and later re-introduced as a demonstration sport in 1932 in Lake Placid.
Between 1936 and 1992, curling was staged at the Games as a demonstration sport: in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936 and Innsbruck in 1964, under the German name of “Eisschiessen”; and in 1988 in Calgary and in 1992 in Albertville, with both men’s and women’s events.
It was in Nagano in 1998 that it officially joined the Olympic programme, with both men’s and women’s competitions.