The 2018 Winter Paralympic Games kick off with opening ceremonies on March 9th and run until March 18th. Until then we’ll be previewing each sport continuing with today’s feature, Wheelchair Curling!
Curling has always been one of the sports that sets the Winter Olympics apart. Most other sports have ample viewing opportunities throughout the year with skiing and snowboarding in the X-Games or their hometown hockey team facing off against their rivals. But Curling is different. The only time it’s on full display is at the Olympics. It is special, exciting, and gets people to tune in. Luckily the Paralympic Games has their own version with Wheelchair Curling!
Curling combines shuffleboard and bowling on ice with the strategy of chess and the wheeled version of the game is no different. Two teams of four players take turns sliding a 42 lb. stone, called a rock, across the ice toward a target at the other end called the house. The object of the game is to get your stones closest to the center of the house which will score points. Wheelchair Curling was introduced in 2000 on the international stage in Switzerland and is now played by athletes in 25 countries. The primary difference between Wheelchair Curling and its Olympic counterpart is that there’s no sweeping in the wheelchair game due to the difficulty of wheeling down the ice and sweeping simultaneously. Wheelchair Curling was then introduced at the 2006 Paralympic Games in Turin and have been competed as a Paralympic sport ever since. Canada is the dominant team at the Games having won all three gold medals in 2006, 2010 and 2014. It will be interesting to see who will challenge the Canadian squad as they’ve faced three different teams in their Gold Medal matches; Great Britain, South Korea, and Russia, while Norway is the current World Champion!
Wheelchair Curling will be played everyday in PyeongChang starting on Saturday, March 10th culminating in the Bronze and Gold medal matches for the mixed competition on Saturday, March 17th. We’re still waiting on the broadcast schedule but the full Wheelchair Curling schedule can be found here. If you haven’t already, check out our Winter Paralympic Preview and our first sport preview for Alpine Skiing. Stay tuned for the rest of the sport previews and exciting news coming out of PyeongChang!