Curling is one of the more unique sports at the Winter Olympics – one that involves stones, brooms, and a ‘slider’ and ‘gripper’ shoe. And while curling may be a ‘slow’ sport, it’s still full of skill, suspense and excitement!
Beijing 2022 will have three events in the curling competition, with nine medals up for grabs.
Top Olympic teams curling at Beijing 2022
The World Curling Federation lists Sweden and Canada in the top 5 of their World Rankings for both the men’s and women’s competitions. The two nations picked up three medals between them at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics (which included gold for Canada in the mixed doubles and gold for Sweden in the women’s competition), and have a combined 18 medals in curling in Winter Olympic history out of a possible 42!
The Swedish men’s team, led by double Olympic medalist Niklas Edin (SWE), picked up a third successive crown at the 2021 World Championships – with Edin winning his fifth world title. Given Sweden’s success at the World Championships, it’s surprising that they are yet to win gold at the Olympics. Edin and his team will look to go one better than in 2018, when they won silver in PyeongChang.
Defending Olympic men’s champion the United States could also pose a threat to repeat their heroics of 2018, while the Republic of Korea, Japan and Switzerland are all good candidates to win a medal in any of the three events.
One of the big stars who should feature in Beijing is Swedish women’s skip Anna Hasselborg (SWE). In November 2019, she became the first curler in history to reign as the simultaneous holder of the European Curling Championship gold medal, the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship gold medal, and the Olympic gold medal.
However, Sweden’s women’s team finished a surprising fourth at the 2021 World Curling Championships, losing to the United States in the bronze medal match. The competition was won by Switzerland, defeating the Russian Curling Federation 4-2 in the final. Despite their fourth-place finish at the championships, Sweden – along with Switzerland – should still be one of the big favourites to win gold in Beijing.
Olympic curling schedule at Beijing 2022
The curling competition will take place from 2 February – 20 February 2022.
Olympic curling venue at Beijing 2022
Curling will take place at the Beijing National Aquatics Center. The venue (also known as ‘The Water Cube’) was originally built to host the aquatics competitions at the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
The facility was renovated in 2019 in order to be to host the curling competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics – when it will become known as ‘The Ice Cube’ – and will have a capacity of 4,000.
Olympic curling competition format at Beijing 2022
The curling competition at the Winter Olympics features three events:
Mixed Doubles Curling
There will be 10 participating teams (with four players per team in matches) in the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles (two athletes per team – one male, one female) competitions at Beijing 2022. In the preliminary round, the ten teams play a “round-robin” tournament and the four best teams advance to the semifinals and the medal matches.
Olympic curling history
Curling first originated in the 16th century in Scotland, which makes it one of the oldest team sports in the world. Those early games were played on frozen ponds and lochs, using curling stones from the regions of Perth and Stirling.
In the 1600s, stones with handles were introduced, and in 1838 the Grand Caledonian Curling Club (renamed the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1843) drew up the first official rules of the sport.
Throughout the 20th century, key developments were made in the sport, including the standardisation of the stone, the development of the slide delivery, and the use of indoor, refrigerated ice facilities.
Men’s curling was a part of the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924, but was later dropped before being re-introduced as a demonstration sport in 1932 in Lake Placid. Curling remained a demonstration sport at the Games between 1936 and 1992, until it finally re-joined the Olympic programme at Nagano in 1998 with both men’s and women’s competitions. The mixed doubles competition was added to the programme at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Canada is the most successful curling nation in Winter Olympic history with 11 medals, including six golds. Sweden is second in the table with eight medals. No athlete has won more than two medals competing in curling at the Games, which isn’t suprising given that the sport has only featured at eight editions of the Winter Olympics.
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