What's it all about?
If you prefer watching things slide on the ice rather than sliding on the ice yourself, then you need to check out wheelchair curling! It’s kind of like bowling on ice, but with no gutterballs!
How it's playedCarousel with 7 slides.
The sport: It’s curling, but designed for those with lower leg impairments, such as multiple sclerosis, spinal injury, cerebral palsy or leg amputation.
The events: Wheelchair curling is a mixed single event, which means both men and women play together. There's also a requirement to have a minimum of one woman on the ice at all times.
The equipment: A slab of ice, wheelchairs (of course!) delivery sticks and curling stones. (See pictures below.)
The strategy: Let's learn some curling speak! Athletes have to deliver (slide) stones down the sheet (rough ice) closer to the button (centre) of the house (target) than their opponent.
The points: Teams with the closest stone(s) to the button get a point. The team with the most points after six or eight ends wins. An "end" is similar to an inning in baseball.
The athletes: Curling is a sport for everyone — you don't have to be fast or strong. But athletes need to know math to figure out how to curl the stones just right.
Did you know? Wheelchair curling is still kind of new! The sport made its first appearance at Turin 2006.
Things to watch for
- Wheelchair curlers use a delivery stick to control and push the rock down the ice.
- Delivery sticks can vary in length, but are all designed with a bracket to grip onto the rock’s handle.
- The stick behaves like an extension of the curler’s arm, allowing them to make precision shots.
- Unlike curling, there are no sweepers in wheelchair curling.
- Without sweepers, it’s a lot tougher to deliver stones to the button.
- That means there’s extra pressure for wheelchair curlers to be accurate with their shots.
Wheelchair Curling Rules
- Wheelchair curlers slide their stones from a stationary position.
- To keep stable, they lock their wheels and make sure their feet are off the ground.
- A teammate is allowed to sit behind the shooter to help brace their wheelchair.
Many believe that curling is named after the way the stones "curl" on the ice.
Curling is a polite sport. It's considered sportsmanlike to concede after the sixth end if there's no chance of catching up or winning.
Curling is nicknamed "the roaring game" because of how the stones roar when going down the ice.
Curling ice isn't smooth — ice makers spray water droplets on it to form pebbles when they freeze. This helps the stones curl after they're thrown.
Curling stones are made from a rare type of granite. There are only two places in the world where they can get it: the Scottish Island of Ailsa Craig and Wales.