Quick Guide to Curling at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics

While the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics is on February 9th, viewers have the opportunity to begin watching the wonderful game of curling on February 7th. With the addition of mixed doubles to this year’s Olympic program, there will be 18 straight days of curling in South Korea. Below is a list of things you should know before the games start.

History of Curling in the Olympics

Curling was first introduced at the 1924 Winter Olympics held in Chamonix, France. The sport then reappeared as a men’s demonstration sport during the 1932 Winter Olympics in New York. For many years, curling was set aside; the sport returned again as a demonstration sport for both men and women in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. Curling was officially added to the Olympic program as a medal sport in the 1998 Winter Olympics and a women’s and men’s event has remained ever since. In 2015, the International Olympic Committee decided to add a new event, Mixed Doubles, to be played in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Team USA Curlers

Women’s: Nina Roth, Tabitha Peterson, Aileen Geving, Becca Hamilton, and Cory Christensen (alternate)

Men’s: John Shuster Tyler GeorgeMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner, and Joe Polo (alternate)

Mixed Doubles: Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton (siblings who are also playing with their respective women’s and men’s teams)

Curling Schedule (click for more detailed schedule)

  • Mixed Doubles: February 7-13
  • Men’s: February 13-24
  • Women’s: February 14-24

What is Mixed Doubles?

A team is composed of one woman and one man. Each team throws five stones per end. Unlike men’s and women’s curling, mixed doubles games are eight ends. In addition, to teams alternating rocks, players on each mixed doubles team alternate and therefore do not throw consecutive stones (i.e. player 1: delivers 1st, 3rd, and 5th rock). Another major difference from regular play is that two stones, one from each team, are placed on predetermined locations on the center line. In most ends, the team with the hammer (last stone advantage) will start with their stone placed at the back of the four foot circle, while the other team’s stone will begin as a center guard.

Few additional rules

  • Take-outs are not allowed until the fourth overall stone in each end
  • If the end is blanked, the team who delivered the first stone has the choice of stone placement the following end
  • Extra ends are used to break ties
  • Powerplay: each team is allowed to use once every game in an end where they have last stone advantage, moves pre-placed stones to one side of the house (i.e. corner guard with stone behind it in the house)

Written by: Shannon Brown

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Stopera’s rink becomes 2018 USA Curling Junior National Champs

Congratulations to Team Stopera, the winners of the 2018 USA Junior National Championship! From March 3-10, Team Stopera will travel alongside Team Bear, the women’s team, to Aberdeen, Scotland in hopes of bringing home the gold at the 2018 World Junior Championships.

Originally from Briarcliff Manor, NY, Andrew Stopera, a member of Exmoor Country Club and the ICA, is currently a sophomore studying economics at Northwestern University. His high-performance teammates include Luc Violette (Lake Stevens, WA), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, WA), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, MN), and Caleb Clawson (Clarksville, MD). Stopera, Violette, Richardson, and Fenson won silver at the 2017 World Junior Championships in South Korea. Violette also represented the USA at Junior Worlds in 2014.

From January 27th to February 3rd, Team Stopera competed against nine other men’s teams in order to secure their victory. Stopera’s rink dominated the round robin play with a perfect 9-0 record and early qualification for the weekend playoffs. The three other qualifying playoff teams were Team Connolly (Seattle, WA), Team Marquardt (Poynette, WI), and Team Moore (Mapleton, MN). Team Stopera (seed No. 1) beat Connolly’s rink (seed No. 2) with a  score of 6-3 and advanced to the finals.  As an undefeated team, Stopera’s rink would have two chances to win the junior title due to the double knockout rule. By keeping Marquardt’s rink down to single point ends and using their last shots well, Stopera’s rink won 8-3 against Team Marquardt.

So, congratulations again to Team Stopera for the amazing win! If you are interested in staying up-to-date with Team Stopera as they continue their journey, check out the team’s facebook page.

Written by: Shannon Brown

 

 

Team Wright Wins 2018 USA Curling Senior Nationals

Next Step, Sweden!

Congratulations to Team Wright the winners of the 2018 USA Curling Senior Nationals! In late April, Jeff Wright will make a second attempt at the world seniors title when his team heads to the Senior World Championship in Ostersund, Sweden. Team members include Jeff Wright (Libertyville, IL), Russ Armstrong (Lake Bluff, IL), Sean Silver (Grosse Point, MI), Russ Brown (Lake Forest, IL), and Steve Waters (Evanston, IL).

Between January 24-28, eight women’s and 20 men’s team from across the United States competed at the 2018 USA Curling Senior Nationals at the Duluth Curling Club in Minnesota. Team Wright began strong on Thursday with a 7-1 win against John Kram’s (Bismarck, ND) rink and then a 10-0 win over Art Ruhononen’s (St. Paul, MN) rink the following morning. Wright’s rink took a turn when they were defeated 4-7 by Mark Olson’s (Milton, WI) rink on Friday evening. Following a 7-8 loss to Team Holt (Farmington, MN) on Saturday morning, the round robin competition concluded with a series of tiebreakers. Six men’s teams had secured their position in Sunday’s playoffs; however, with their 2-2 finish Team Wright would have to fight for their playoff spot. On Saturday afternoon, Wright beat John Kram’s rink with a score of 8-2. That evening Wright’s rink beat Darrin Holt’s rink with an 8-3 score.

With all tiebreaker games played, Wright continued to the quarterfinals on Sunday morning where the rink from Illinois won 4-3 against a previous champion, Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, MN). In the semifinals, Team Wright successfully secured their position in the event finals by defeating Phil Devore’s (Superior, WI) rink with a score 7-5. On Sunday evening, the finals commenced as Team Wright took on Mark Olson’s rink for the second time. With a back and forth game that resulted in a tie game by the sixth end, Wright’s final shot in the 7th end resulted in a gain of four points. With a final score of 7-3, Team Wright awarded the Olson rink their only loss in the competition.

WCF 2018 Seniors Champion ShipThe World Senior National Championships began in 2002 and was established for athletes age 50 and older. Overall, the USA men’s team has won three world titles in the recent years (2015, 2010, 2002). An Illinois men’s team has represented the USA only once in 2014 when Jeff Wright led the team with two of his current team members (Russ Armstrong and Russ Brown). This year, the Illinois team will participate with countries such as Finland, Russia, Ireland, Croatia, and Ireland in the World Senior Championships from April 21-28.

Written by: Shannon Brown