History of Curling
History of Curling
Curling is a team sport played by two teams of four players on a rectangular sheet of ice. Its nickname, “The Roaring Game”, originates from the rumbling sound the 44-pound (19.96kg) granite stones make when they travel across the ice.
As with all other games evidence for the earliest periods of curling is scarce. But there is little doubt that when the notary John McQuhin recorded a challenge about throwing stones across the ice between a monk at Paisley Abbey and a relative of the abbot in February 1541 the written history of curling had begun.
Their chief amusement in winter is curling, or playing stones on smooth ice. They eagerly vie with one another who shall come nearest the mark, and one part of the parish against another, one description of men against another, one trade or occupation against another, and often one whole parish against another, – earnestly contend for the palm, which is generally all the prize, except that perhaps the victors claim from the vanquished the dinner and bowl of toddy, which, to do them justice, both commonly take together with great cordiality, and generally without any grudge at the fortune of the day; wisely reflecting, no doubt, that defeat as well as victory is the fate of war. Those accustomed to this amusement, or those have acquired dexterity in the game, are extremely fond of it. The amusement itself is healthful; it is innocent; it does nobody harm; let them enjoy it.
One of the world’s oldest team sports, curling originated in the 16th century in Scotland, where games were played during winter on frozen ponds and lochs. The earliest-known curling stones came from the Scottish regions of Stirling and Perth and date from 1511. In the 1600s, stones with handles were introduced.
The first curling clubs appeared in Scotland, with the Grand Caledonian Curling Club, formed in 1838, being responsible for formulating the first official rules of the sport. The Club was renamed the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1843. The key 20th-century developments in the sport have been the standardization of the stone, the development of the slide delivery, and the use of indoor, refrigerated ice facilities.
For centuries curling has been a favorite game in Scotland. In fact, during the first two thirds of the nineteenth century it can be said emphatically that it was the Scottish game.
It is fruitless to speculate about whether the game is Scottish in origin. Suffice it to say that the only other part of the world for which any claim has been made, the Low Countries, is spectacularly deficient in that necessary raw material, hard igneous rock, from which alone the peculiar implement of the game, the curling stone, is made. Curling has a long history in Scotland, and it from Scotland that it has been taken to the other colder parts of the world in which the game is now played.
Men’s curling was included in the Olympic program in 1924 at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. It was then dropped, and later re-introduced as a demonstration sport in 1932 in Lake Placid.
Between 1936 and 1992, curling was staged at the Games as a demonstration sport: in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936 and Innsbruck in 1964, under the German name of “Eisschiessen”; and in 1988 in Calgary and in 1992 in Albertville, with both men’s and women’s events.
It was in Nagano in 1998 that it officially joined the Olympic program, with both men’s and women’s competitions.