Curling is an Olympic sport in which teams of four throw 42-pound stones down a 150-foot sheet of ice. The sport of curling originated in Scotland, in which teams would throw small stones along the surface of frozen lakes and were swept with brooms made of corn bristles. As the game of curling evolved in Scotland, the stones used to play the game became larger and were eventually fitted with handles. The sport continued to spread across Europe and later expanded into North Americaduring European immigration in the 1800s.
Since then, the sport of curling has been rapidly standardized by the World Curling Federation, the international governing body for the sport of curling. They often make modifications to rules and regulations of curling, the most recent one being the modification of the Free Guard Zone Rule. Formerly, a guard could be removed from play after the first four rocks of the end were thrown. Now, a guard can be removed from play after the first five rocks of the end are thrown.
While the sport continues to grow, so does the technology for teams to utilize and improve their overall performance. The most significant technological advances in the sport of curling have involved the brooms. From the conception of the sport and the use of corn bristle brooms to the present in which most broom heads are made of synthetic material, it is likely that curling brooms will continue to be standardized at the international level. The World Curling Federation now requires that synthetic broom heads to be made of only a specific type of material, as some broom head materials can influence the trajectory of a stone more than others can.
The sport of curling may seem complex at first, but is rather simple. Teams of four players alternate throwing eight stones each, for a total of 16 stones thrown. The throwing of these 16 stones makes up an end. In a game of curling, usually, eight to ten ends are played (eight ends at the recreational level and 10 ends at the national/international level). The objective of the game is to score more points than your opponent by throwing stones into the house, a series of concentric circles that are one, four, eight, and 12 feet wide. Whichever team's stones are closest to the center of the house, the button, will receive a point per stone that is closer than their opponent's stone that is closest to the button. The team with the most points at the conclusion of eight (or ten) ends wins the game.