WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – All February the Eyewitness News morning team is celebrating Olympic athletes by taking a look at the work that goes into different Olympic events. In this week’s Winter Challenge, we hit the ice one last time.
Curling is one of the most head turning events in the winter games. To the naked eye, it looks like a 42 pound stone sliding behind a set of brooms sweeping away ice on what looks like a slick shuffleboard court.
The sport is nothing new. It dates back to the 1500s in Scotland. But modern day clubs, like NEPA’s Anthracite Curling Club, have taken the sport into the 21st century.
So here’s how it works. A team of four delivers stones closest to the “button” in the middle of the “house” or target (think of it as a bullseye). Club member Matthew Lyons shows the morning team the basics in the video above.
But delivering the stone is only half the sport. A lead and secondary sweeper use the brooms to help guide the stone towards the button. Lyons says control is key.
“Sweeping wildly in front of the stone is a waste of energy,” says Lyons. “You only have to sweep approximately four inches.”
There are five types of sweeping that will be shouted out by the skip. “Cleaning” is light movement of the broom to remove frost. “Sweep” is a little more vigorous. “Sweep hard” has even more pressure. “Fast” and “hard-fast” speak for themselves.
Our morning team won’t sweep away the competition any time soon, but every curling team has to start somewhere.