RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Winter Olympics are underway and one of the most watched events around the globe is one that’s not very well understood. This is curling.
Meteorologist Matt Dinardo, Sport Anchor Natalie Kalibat and Anchor Morgan Dean received a hands-on, on ice look at what it takes to compete.
“I think it’s confusing,” said Travis Hamilton, Curling Club of Virginia President. “People don’t understand the rules. They don’t understand. They don’t think it’s a sport. They think it’s easy.”
You’ve probably seen curling on TV on the Olympics. But if you’re like most people, you have no idea what it’s all about. That’s why the Curling Club of Virginia gave 8News a crash course on curling, with an emphasis on crash.
“There’s a lot of strategy involved, which is different from other ice sports. It’s a team game,” Hamilton added, who served as 8News’ coach for the morning.
Curling is like Bocce or Shuffleboard, but on ice. The thrower has to push a 42 pound stone with just the right velocity. The sweepers have to race ahead, smoothing out the ice to try and get it to just the right position on the target to earn the most points.
“That turn will make it turn, make it curl,” said Hamilton, as he was trying to teach the team the fine art of curling the stone.
That’s where the strategy comes into play with the spinning of the stone and the thrower has to be in just the right position to get the stone moving on the right trajectory.
Even with the training wheel slider accessory they gave to the 8News team, it was tough. Morgan felt like a newborn deer on ice. But after a few practice runs, Natalie started to look like a pro. Morgan and Matt said they felt better as sweepers.
Coach Hamilton said the 8News team could get better with reps and by working on their technique.
Hamilton has been curling since he learned the sport in gym class as a kid growing up in Canada. He says it all comes down to two things.
“Balance and being able to focus, it’s very much a mind game,” Hamilton said.
As for the performance of team 8, the crew didn’t win any medals, but coach Hamilton said they can hold their heads high.
“Pretty good for the first time out, you guys did real well.” Hamilton said. “You did awesome.”
Curling is a growing sport with teams popping up all of the Mid-Atlantic and South. The Curling Club of Virginia is holding watch parties where you can learn more about the sport.