Physics behind curling in the Olympics

Curling is a winter sport played in the Olympics. Curling involves physics, a huge factor in the sport. The next Olympic game will be played in South Korea. Image by Max Fritzhand
Curling is a winter sport played in the Olympics. Curling involves physics, a huge factor in the sport. The next Olympic game will be played in South Korea. Image by Max Fritzhand

The Olympics happens every four years. It is a worldwide event that many people watch. The winter Olympics that happened in Sochi, Russia was a great Olympics for the USA. The Canadian Curling team did the best out of everyone, having 2 gold medals, whereas USA got 0 medals. Despite not medaling, the USA team still competed very well.

 

A lot of work goes into curling. There is a lot of physics that goes into it and much practice for people that want to be good.  A modern game of curling uses a 41lb granite, polished ‘rock’ that goes across 42 meters to the target that is called a house.

“I play for our school’s track team, and it is very competitive. I know for a fact that curling is more difficult than track by a long shot,” junior Ray Berling said.

Friction is what makes curling very difficult as it must be very well controlled. Another large part that goes into curling is that you have a broom to sweep right in front of the stone, so that reduces friction and decreases the amount of the curl.

“I think I would be good at curling, because I do a lot of chores at my house that mainly involves using a broom to clean stuff up,” sophomore Gail Duke said.

The objective of the sport, curling, is to score points by getting the stones closer to the house center, than the other team’s stones. Normal matches involve 8 stones for each team, so 16 total. For the Curling championship and the Olympic, the matches use 10 stones for each team.

“The scoring system for curling is really weird,” junior Kevin Foster said.

Some factors that affect curling is the speed of the ‘rock’ once it is released, the ice conditions, and the amount of sweeping that is done near the stone.  The ‘rock’ can be directed to turn if sweeping is done more on one side versus the other.

Teams with the most skill can aim their ‘rock’ more precisely than their opponent which will bring a victory. Curling is a fun sport to watch, especially since we rarely get to enjoy it. Many people will be looking forward to the Olympics in South Korea in 2018.

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