/kerr"ling/, n.a game played on ice in which two teams of four players each compete in sliding large stones toward a mark in the center of a circle. Cf. house (def. 20).[1610-20; perh. CURL + -ING1, from the motion imparted to the sliding stones]
* * *Game in which two teams of four players each slide a round stone by means of a gooseneck handle on the top over a 138-ft (42-m) stretch of ice toward a target circle.The object is to deliver the stone closest to the center (called the house). Each player delivers two stones, which average 40 lbs (18.1 kg) apiece, often applying a curl to the stone's trajectory. The player's teammates use a broom to sweep the ice ahead of the oncoming stone in order to facilitate a longer slide or to adjust the arc of the curl. Blocking and knocking out an opponent's stones are important strategies of the sport. Curling originated in Scotland in the early 16th century. World championships have been held since 1959 and are usually dominated by Canadians and Scandinavians. In 1998 curling became a medal sport in the Winter Olympic Games.Curling players sweeping vigorously as a teammate's stone nears the house.MALAK from Miller Services Ltd.
* * *▪ 2009In 2008 Canada won both the men's and women's world curling championships for the second straight year. Kevin Martin's team doubled Scotland's David Murdoch by a score of 6–3 in the men's final in Grand Forks, N.D. Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud defeated China's Fengchun Wang 8–3 for the bronze. The order of the rest of the men's field was France, Australia, the U.S., Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. At the women's world championship in Vernon, B.C., skip Jennifer Jones downed China's Bingyu Wang 7–4 for the gold. Switzerland's Mirjam Ott beat Moe Meguro of Japan 9–7 for the bronze medal. Denmark, Sweden, the U.S., Russia, Germany, Scotland, Italy, and the Czech Republic completed the women's standings.In the first world mixed doubles event, held in Vierumäki, Fin., Irene Schori and Toni Müller of Switzerland edged Finland's Anne Malmi and Jussi Uusipaavalniemi 5–4 for the title. Sweden's Marie Persson and Göran Carlsson won the bronze in a field that included 24 countries.Eve Muirhead's Scottish team scored a decisive 12–3 win over Sweden's Cecilia Östlund in the world junior women's final in Östersund, Swed. Canada's Kaitlyn Lawes settled for the bronze. The U.S. captured the world junior men's title, with Chris Plys scoring a 7–5 victory over Sweden's Oskar Eriksson. William Dion of Canada took the bronze medal. Canada swept the men's and women's world senior championships. Pat Ryan shut out Sweden's Per Linderman 8–0 in the men's final in Vierumäki. David Russell of the U.S. was third. Diane Foster took the women's title with a 10–2 win over Scotland's Kirsty Letton. Renate Nedkoff of Switzerland was the bronze medalist.Rune Lorentsen skipped Norway to a second consecutive world wheelchair championship. Norway won 5–3 over South Korea's Hak Sung Kim in the final in Sursee, Switz. Jim Pierce of the U.S. took the bronze medal.Donna Spencer▪ 2008Canada won both the men's and women's world curling championships in 2007. The country had not taken both titles in the same year since 2000. Glenn Howard's team downed Germany, led by skip Andy Kapp, 8–3 in the men's final in Edmonton, Alta. Todd Birr and the U.S. team finished third. The order of the rest of the field was Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, France, Norway, Scotland, Australia, Denmark, and South Korea. Kelly Scott doubled Denmark's Angelina Jensen 8–4 to take the crown at the women's world championship in Aomori, Japan. Kelly Wood of Scotland earned the bronze medal, followed by the U.S., Switzerland, Sweden, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, Czech Republic, and Italy in the final standings.At the world junior championships in Eveleth, Minn., Charley Thomas skipped Canada to the men's title for a second straight year. The Canadians beat Sweden's Niklas Edin 8–3 in the final. Christian von Gunten of Switzerland finished third. Scotland's Sarah Reid secured the women's championship as the Scots stole a point in an extra end to defeat Canada's Stacie Devereaux 7–6 for the title. Madeleine Dupont of Denmark took the bronze medal.The world senior curling championships, for competitors aged 50 and over, were held in Edmonton. The Scots captured the men's senior title, with Keith Prentice edging Canada's Al Hackner 6–5 in the final. Sweden's Göran Roxin was third. Ingrid Meldahl skipped Sweden to a second consecutive women's senior championship by beating Canada's Anne Dunn 8–5. Pam Oleinik of the U.S. earned the bronze medal. Rune Lorentsen of Norway won the world wheelchair championship in Sollefteå, Swed., defeating Switzerland's Manfred Bollinger 5–4 in the final.Donna Spencer▪ 2007Anette Norberg's team from Sweden dominated women's curling in 2006, capturing both an Olympic gold medal and the world championship. At the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in February, Norberg made a double takeout and stayed in the rings with her final stone to beat Switzerland's Mirjam Ott 7–6 in an extra end in the women's final. Canada's Shannon Kleibrink took the women's bronze over Norway. Great Britain, Russia, Japan, Denmark, the U.S., and Italy completed the women's standings.Canada won the men's curling gold in Turin. Brad Gushue's team defeated Finland's Markku Uusipaavalniemi 10–4 in a men's final that was over after just eight ends. Pete Fenson captured the bronze medal for the U.S., while Great Britain, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and New Zealand rounded out the men's field.Norberg followed up her Olympic gold by defending her world title in Grande Prairie, Alta., in March. The Swedes were 10–9 winners over Debbie McCormick of the U.S. in the final. Canada's Kelly Scott took the bronze, followed by Germany, China, Denmark, Norway, Scotland, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, and The Netherlands in the rankings.Scotland's David Murdoch won the men's world championship, held in April in Lowell, Mass., where the Scots downed Canada's Jean-Michel Menard 7–4 in the final. Norway's Thomas Ulsrud finished with the bronze medal. The rest of the field were, in order, the U.S., Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Japan, and Ireland.At the world junior curling championships in Chonju, S.Kor., Canada's Charley Thomas beat Sweden's Nils Carlsen 7–3 for the men's title. Russia's Lyudmila Privivkova got by Canada's Mandy Selzer 5–4 for the women's crown.At the world senior curling championships in Taarnby, Den., Sweden's Ingrid Meldahl defeated Canada's Joyce Potter 7–3 in the women's final. Canada's Les Rogers took the men's title with a 9–1 victory over American Brian Simonson.Donna Spencer▪ 2006The men's and women's world curling championships were divided into two separate competitions in 2005 after having run as a combined event for the previous 16 years.In Victoria, B.C., Randy Ferbey's Canadian team won its third men's world championship in four years. Ferbey won eight consecutive games, including a tiebreaker, and easily defeated Scotland's David Murdoch 11–4 in a final that lasted only eight ends. Andy Kapp of Germany took the bronze after losing 8–6 to Canada. The rest of the men's field were, in order, Norway, Finland, the U.S., Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, Denmark, and Italy.At the women's world championship in Paisley, Scot., Anette Norberg of Sweden won her first world title after having finished third four times and second once. Norberg went undefeated through the round-robin at 11–0 and beat American Cassie Johnson 10–4 in the final. Norway's Dordi Nordby took the bronze. The rest of the field were, in order, Canada, Russia, Scotland, China, Switzerland, Japan, Denmark, Italy, and Finland.Canada's Kyle George won the men's title at the world junior championships in Pinerolo, Italy, with a 6–5 victory in an extra end over Sweden's Nils Carlsén. Logan Gray of Scotland went undefeated in the round-robin at 9–0 but was upset 10–2 by Canada in the semifinal and finished with a bronze medal. Switzerland's Tania Grivel captured the women's world junior title with a 10–2 victory over Stina Viktorsson of Sweden. Canada's Andrea Kelly won the bronze medal.At the world senior championships, held in Glasgow, Scot., Canada's Bas Buckle defended his men's title with a 5–4 win over the U.S. team, skipped by David Russell. Scotland's Carolyn Morris captured the women's senior championship with a 9–5 win over Hatoni Nagaoka of Japan.Donna Spencer▪ 2005In April 2004 Sweden's skip, Peter Lindholm, won the men's world curling championship for his third title in eight years; his other victories were in 2001 and 1997. In front of the home crowd in Gävle, Swed., Lindholm executed a draw to the centre of the house with his last stone for a 7–6 win over Sebastian Stock of Germany in the championship game. The Swedes went 6–3 in the round-robin to earn a play-off berth and beat Olympic gold medallist Pål Trulsen of Norway 8–6 in the semifinal. Canada's Mark Dacey went unbeaten in the round-robin at 9–0, lost 9–6 in the semifinal to Stock, and took the bronze with a 9–3 decision over Trulsen. The rest of the men's field were, in order, Scotland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, the U.S., and France.Canada's Colleen Jones rebounded from losing the gold to the U.S. in 2003 to claim her second women's world championship in six tries (she also won in 2001). Canada doubled Norway's Dordi Nordby 8–4 in the final. Jones defeated Switzerland's Luzia Ebnöther 8–6 in one semifinal, while Nordby edged American Patti Lank 8–7 in the other. Ebnöther then beat Lank 10–5 for the bronze. The rest of the field were, in order, Scotland, Sweden, Japan, Denmark, Italy, and Finland.Canada swept the world senior championships, held during the same week in Gävle, with Anne Dunn winning her second gold in three years and Bas Buckle taking the men's crown.At the world junior curling championship held in March in Trois-Rivières, Que., Niklas Edin edged Switzerland's Stefan Rindlisbacher 5–4 to give Sweden its first junior gold since 1989. Norway's Linn Githmark defeated Canada's Jill Mouzar 9–6 for the women's junior crown. In January Scotland's Frank Duffy won the world wheelchair curling championship in Sursee, Switz., with a 6–3 decision over defending champion Urs Bucher of the host country.Donna Spencer▪ 2004The United States won its first women's world curling championship in a 2003 season that was otherwise dominated by the traditional powerhouse Canadians, but it took a Canadian-born skip, Debbie McCormick of Madison, Wis., to turn the trick for the U.S. McCormick, who was born in Saskatoon, Sask., defeated five-time Canadian champion Colleen Jones 5–3 at the world championships in Winnipeg, Man., in April. American women had made it to the final three previous times—in 1992, 1996, and 1999—since the women's event began in 1979, without claiming the gold medal. The defeat was particularly bitter for Jones. The 2001 world champion had gone undefeated in 10 games at the weeklong tournament heading into her showdown with McCormick.Anette Norberg of Sweden won the women's bronze medal, defeating Dordi Nordby of Norway 7–5. The other women's finishers, in order, were Switzerland, Russia, Scotland, Denmark, Italy, and Japan.Canada's Randy Ferbey defeated Ralph Stöckli of Switzerland 10–6 for the men's world title. Ferbey became the first skip in more than 30 years to win consecutive world championships, matching Canadian Don Duguid's record, and added a record 28th Canadian gold medal to the country's total since the worlds started in 1959.Olympic champion Pål Trulsen of Norway won the men's bronze with a 9–7 win over Finland's Markku Uusipaavalniemi. The rest of the men's field were, in order, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, the U.S., Germany, and South Korea, which was making its first appearance at the world curling championships.At the world junior curling championships, held in Flims, Switz., in March, Canada won both the men's and the women's golds. Steve Laycock defeated Sweden's Eric Carlsen for Canada's sixth consecutive men's junior crown, while Marliese Miller defeated American Cassandra Johnson for the women's title. Miller became the first woman junior to go undefeated at the world championship, with a perfect 11–0 record.Bruce Cheadle▪ 2003Curling received a huge boost in its Scottish birthplace and across the U.K. in 2002. First, Rhona Martin of Dunlop, Scot., claimed Great Britain's first Winter Olympic gold medal in 18 years when she won the women's curling side at the Salt Lake City, Utah, Games in February. Jackie Lockhart of Aberdeen followed with Scotland's first women's world curling title at the championships in Bismarck, N.D., in April. Lockhart had earned her berth in the world championship by defeating Martin at the Scottish nationals just two weeks after the Olympic Games.In Salt Lake City, Martin finished round-robin play in the middle of the pack, won two tiebreakers to advance to the semifinals, and narrowly beat the tournament-leading Canadians to gain entry to the medal round. The Scots went on to edge Switzerland's Luzia Ebnoether 4–3 for the gold, while Canada's Kelley Law claimed bronze by beating Kari Erickson of the U.S.Norway's Pål Trulsen won the Olympic men's gold medal, also at the expense of a Canadian side that had led the tournament. Trulsen upset Kevin Martin 6–5 in the final when the favoured Canadian overthrew his final stone, allowing Norway to steal a point and the game. Andreas Schwaller of Switzerland beat defending world champion Peter Lindholm of Sweden for the bronze.In Bismarck, Lockhart's foursome was the class of the field, finishing first in the round-robin, knocking off defending champion Colleen Jones of Canada in the semifinal, and defeating Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden 6–5 for the title. While Scotland had three previous men's world championships, it was the first for Scottish women. Norway finished third, beating Canada. Trulsen's bid for a double-gold-medal year fell short, however, when Randy Ferbey of Canada defeated the Norwegian skip 10–5 for the 2002 world men's title. Scotland defeated the U.S. for the bronze.Bruce Cheadle▪ 2002Peter Lindholm of Sweden finally regained his international curling crown in 2001 after having made it to the men's final in four of the past five world championships. Playing in Lausanne, Switz., the 1997 world champion and 1989 world junior winner defeated Swiss skip Andreas Schwaller 6–3 in the men's final on April 8. Lindholm had finished second at the worlds in 2000 and 1998. The silver medal for Schwaller was significant in that it qualified Switzerland for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Norway finished third in the men's competition, pushing fourth-place Canada out of the men's medals for only the fifth time in 30 years at the worlds. Rounding out the top 10 were Finland, France, Germany, the U.S., New Zealand, and Denmark.Colleen Jones of Halifax, N.S., earned Canada its second consecutive women's world title by defeating Anette Norberg of Sweden 5–2 in the final. Jones had first made it to the worlds in 1982 and returned in 1999, finishing fifth in both those attempts. Denmark won the bronze medal by defeating Scotland. The other women's finishers, in order, were Germany, the U.S., Japan, Norway, Russia, and Switzerland.In June Finland announced it had pulled its women's curling entry from the 2002 Olympics because of the country's poor international results. Finnish women failed to qualify for either the 2000 or 2001 world championships but still held the 10th Olympic qualifying berth. Finland was to be replaced on the women's side in Salt Lake City by Russia, which had qualified 11th after a ninth-place finish in Lausanne—the country's first appearance at the world curling championships.The 2001 world junior curling championships took place in March at the 2002 Olympic curling venue in Ogden, Utah. Brad Gushue of Canada defeated Casper Bossen of Denmark for the men's championship, while the U.S. defeated Scotland for the bronze. The women's junior title was won by Canada's Suzanne Gaudet, who defeated Matilda Mattsson of Sweden in the final. Switzerland won bronze, relegating Japan to fourth place.Bruce Cheadle▪ 2001International curling provided a nearly clean sweep for Canada in 2000 as Canadian teams captured four of six world titles and settled for silver in two others. The country's on-ice success stood in counterpoint to the death in March of Canadian skip Sandra Schmirler (see Obituaries (Schmirler, Sandra )), a three-time world champion and the first woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal for curling. Her funeral in Saskatchewan was nationally televised.Canada, which had not won a women's world championship since Schmirler last turned the trick in 1997, returned to form in Glasgow, Scot., in April when Kelley Law of Richmond, B.C., defeated Switzerland's Luiza Ebnother 7–6 in the final. Norway won the women's bronze by defeating host Scotland. The remaining women's teams, in order, were Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United States, Japan, and France.Greg McAulay of New Westminster, B.C., completed the Glasgow sweep for Canada by beating Peter Lindholm of Sweden 9–4. It was McAulay's first world championship, while Lindholm was appearing in his third final in four years—with one victory to his credit in 1997. Canada was the only country to sweep both men's and women's world crowns in one year, a feat it had now accomplished nine times. Finland defeated the U.S. for the men's bronze medal. Rounding out the men's field, in order, were Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Scotland, France, and Japan.Canadian dominance continued at the world junior championships in Geising, Ger., where the Canadian men beat Switzerland for the gold and the Canadian women finished second to Sweden. In the inaugural world senior curling championship, also in Glasgow, Canadian men won gold over Scotland, while Scotland prevailed over Canada in the women's final.Bruce Cheadle▪ 2000Elisabet Gustafson, a surgeon from Örebro, Swed., became the first skip ever to have won four senior women's world curling championships when she defeated Patti Lank of the United States 8–5 in the women's final at Saint John, N.B., in April 1999. Gustafson stole four points in the eighth end to deny the U.S. its first women's world curling title. Gustafson, who also won in 1998, 1995, and 1992, joined four-time world men's winner Ernie Richardson of Canada as the only quadruple world curling champions. Denmark defeated Norway for the bronze medal, while Canada—10 times the women's champion since 1979—was relegated to fifth place. Rounding out the women's championship, in order, were Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Japan, and Scotland.Scotland's Hammy McMillan edged Jeff Stoughton of Canada 6–5 in an extra end to win the 1999 men's world championship, providing Scotland its third men's world curling title and the first since David Smith won in 1991. Canada and Scotland had met 14 times in the men's final, and McMillan's was just the second victory for the Scots. Patrick Huerlimann, the 1998 Olympic gold medalist from Switzerland, beat Tim Somerville of the U.S. for the bronze medal. The remaining world men's teams, in order of finish, were Norway, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Sweden, and New Zealand.At the 1999 junior world championships in Östersund, Swed., Silvana Tirinzoni claimed Switzerland's first women's junior title crown by beating Akiko Katoh of Japan 8–3. John Morris of Canada returned to defend his 1998 junior title, defeating Switzerland's Christian Haller 6–2 to become the first men's skip to win consecutive world junior championships.Bruce Cheadle▪ 1999Approximately 350 years after it became established as a recreational pastime in Scotland, curling in February 1998 joined the ranks of official Olympic sports at the Games in Nagano, Japan. There Swiss skip Patrick Huerlimann unexpectedly routed Canada's Mike Harris 9-3. Only three Swiss men's teams (in 1992, 1981, and 1975) and one women's team (1983) had previously claimed world titles. Norway's Eigil Ramsfjell finished third, defeating a U.S. foursome skipped by Tim Somerville in the bronze-medal match. Rounding out the Olympic men's card in order of finish were Japan, Sweden, Great Britain, and Germany.Three-time world champion Sandra Schmirler of Canada added Olympic gold to her career winnings with a 7-5 victory over Denmark's Helena Blach Lavrsen in the women's final. Elisabet Gustafson skipped Sweden to the bronze medal, with Scotland's Kirsty Hay, representing Great Britain, falling to fourth place. The remaining four Olympic finishers were, in order, Japan, Norway, the U.S., and Germany.Less than two months later at the world championships in Kamloops, B.C., Gustafson prevailed on the women's side, handing Blach Lavrsen her second disappointment of the winter with a 7-3 Swedish victory in the final. It was Gustafson's third world championship in seven years. Canada, with Schmirler's rink finally relegated to the sidelines in the highly competitive Canadian championship a week earlier, finished third under skip Cathy Borst. The remaining competitors were Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Scotland, Japan, the U.S., and Finland.Skip Wayne Middaugh returned Canada, which had been shut out of the medals in 1997, to the men's world pinnacle, beating defending champion Peter Lindholm of Sweden 7-4 in the final. Markku Uusipaavalniemi of Finland finished third, defeating 1991 world champion David Smith of Scotland. Rounding out the top 10 were Norway, the U.S., Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, and Germany.BRUCE CHEADLE▪ 1998Sweden won its first men's world curling crown in 20 years at the 1997 world championships held in Bern, Switz., in April, injecting some fresh blood into the sport's reigning hierarchy in preparation for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Represented by Ostersund and skipped by Peter Lindholm, Sweden defeated Germany, represented by Füssen and skipped by Andy Kapp, 6-3 in the final. Scotland had earned the silver medal in four of the previous five world championships but slipped to third place, beating Canada in the men's bronze medal final. Canadian men, who had claimed the world title for the last four years in a row, were shut out of the medals for the first time since 1984. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were Denmark, the United States, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, and Finland.In the women's competition Canada maintained form when Regina, skipped by Sandra Schmirler, defeated Norway, represented by Snaroen and skipped by Dordi Nordby, 8-4 in the final. Schmirler, who had claimed the title in 1993 and 1994 under her maiden name, Sandra Peterson, became the first woman to win three world championships. Nordby also had won twice previously. For Canada it was the second women's world crown in a row and the fourth in five years. The remaining top 10 finishers in order were Denmark, Japan, Sweden, Germany, the United States, Finland, Scotland, and Switzerland.Curling, which was first introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alta., was set to be a full medal sport for the first time at the Games in Nagano. The eight men's countries that qualified were, in order of ranking, Canada, Scotland (which was representing the U.K.), Sweden, Germany, the U.S., Norway, Switzerland, and Japan. The eight qualifying countries on the women's side were, in order of ranking, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the U.S., Germany, Denmark, Japan, and Scotland.BRUCE CHEADLE▪ 1997At the 1996 world curling championships in Hamilton, Ont., Canadian rinks won both the men's and women's crowns. Skipped by Jeff Stoughton, Canada, represented by Winnipeg, Man., beat Scotland, skipped by Warwick Smith and represented by Perth, 6-2. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, England, the United States, Italy, Germany, and Australia. In the women's competition Marilyn Bodogh skipped Canada, represented by St. Catharines, Ont., to a 5-2 victory over the U.S., skipped by Lisa Schoeneberg and represented by Madison, Wis. The remaining top 10 finishes in order were Norway, Germany, Scotland, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland.The U.S. Curling Association in October announced its annual awards. Schoeneberg was named Female Athlete of the Year, and Travis Way of Seattle, Wash., who led his team to the junior men's national championship, was the men's winner. Steve Brown of Madison was named Coach of the Year; his women's team, skipped by Schoeneberg, had won three U.S. championships.(JAMES MORRIS)▪ 1996Canada dominated curling in 1995, winning two world titles, losing in the final of another, and finishing third in the men's junior championships. Kerry Burtnyk won the world men's title with a 4-2 victory over Scotland's Gordon Muirhead. Sweden's Elisabet Gustafson defeated Connie Laliberte of Canada 6-5 for the women's championship. The competitions were held simultaneously in Brandon, Man., close to Burtnyk's and Laliberte's hometown of Winnipeg.The world junior women's crown was won by Kelly MacKenzie of Winnipeg, who defeated Sweden 6-5 at Perth, Scotland. Tom Brewster of Scotland won the men's junior crown with a 6-3 win over Germany.The 1996 world championships were to be held in Hamilton, Ont., and the juniors at Red Deer, Alta. At the 1998 winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, curling would for the first time be an official sport.Since curling was first introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Alta., the World Curling Federation had grown from 19 countries to 31. (JAMES MORRIS)
* * *▪ sportIntroductiona game similar to lawn bowls but played on ice. Two teams of four players (given the titles lead, second, third, and skip) participate in a curling match. Each player slides round stones, concave on the bottom and with a handle on the top, across the ice of a rink or a natural ice field toward the tee, or button, which is a fixed mark in the centre of a circle (called the house) marked with concentric bands. The object of the game is for each side to get its stones closest to the centre.Each player delivers two stones alternately with the opponent beginning with the lead of each team and ending with the skip, who is also the team captain. One point is awarded for each stone that comes to rest nearer the tee than does any rival stone. A team can score up to eight points with the 16 stones delivered in an end, or inning, unless no stone is in the house or the nearest opposing stones are equidistant, in which case there is no score. Blocking and knocking out an opponent's stones are important strategies of the sport. The usual number of ends in a match is 8 to 12. In international competition a match always consists of 10 ends; ties are broken by the addition of extra ends until a winner emerges.A distinctive part of the game is the use of a brush, or broom, to sweep the ice in front of the sliding stone. This is a tradition carried over from the days when curling was played outdoors on frozen lakes; it was necessary to clear the snow to provide a path for the oncoming rock. Sweeping is still used today on indoor rinks because it both removes stray ice particles and smoothes the surface of the ice, thus assuring the stone a longer ride. The broom is also used by the curler for balance during delivery of the stone and by the skip to indicate where the curler should aim. The ice is meticulously groomed to keep it completely level. Prior to competition, a mist of water is applied to the ice to create a pebbled surface that helps guide the stones.Curling is associated especially with Scotland, where the game dates to the early 16th century. Paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder dating from about the same time are evidence that the game was also played in the Low Countries, but it was Scotland that promoted the game worldwide. The Grand Caledonian Curling Club was organized at Edinburgh in 1838 (royal patronage made it the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1843) with the announced purpose of becoming an international body. The International Curling Federation was founded there in 1966.A Canadian branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club was founded in 1852, but the Royal Montreal Curling Club had been in existence since 1807. The Canadian championship was inaugurated in 1927 and became the world's biggest curling event.In the United States the Grand National Curling Club of America, affiliated with the Royal Caledonian, was formed in 1867. The oldest club in the United States is the Orchard Lake Club near Detroit, Michigan, founded in 1832. The first U.S. championship was held in Chicago in 1957, and in 1958 the United States Curling Association was organized as a federation of 125 clubs. There is also the United States Women's Curling Association (founded 1947).There are curling clubs or associations in most countries in western Europe. World championships have been held since 1959, the Canadians usually dominating them. After having been a demonstration sport at five Olympic Winter Games, curling was finally added as a full medal sport for the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan.The rink is approximately 42.1 metres (138 feet) long and 4.2 metres (14 feet) wide, though measurements may vary. The houses are 3.6 metres (12 feet) in diameter, and their centres are 34.7 metres (114 feet) from each other. A scorable stone must come to a rest between the hog line (located 6.4 metres [21 feet] before the tee) and the back line (which runs across the back of the house). The hack, a rubber block used by the curler to get a push, is located behind the back line. The stone weighs an average of 18.1 kg (40 pounds) and cannot exceed 19.9 kg (44 pounds); its circumference cannot be more than 91.4 cm (36 inches), and its minimum height is 11.4 cm (4.5 inches).Men's world curling championshipsWorld curling championship-men World curling championship-menThe table provides a list of the winners of the men's world curling championships.Women's world curling championshipsWorld curling championship-women World curling championship-womenThe table provides a list of the winners of the women's world curling championships.
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