Here Comes the Broom: Your Guide to Olympic Curling in Beijing


(Eloisa Lopez/Reuters)


By: Lyndsay Helfrich


Ah the Olympics, that glorious time every four years when we get to watch the best athletes compete at the top of their sports. What often makes the Olympics so special for viewers is that they provide the easiest access to sports that are sometimes difficult to view compared to the major sports like soccer, American football, basketball, and hockey. Every now and then something happens which captures the attention of sports fans watching something for the first time and a sport will generate some buzz. At the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, curling was one of those sports with the American men’s team helmed by John Schuster won the USA’s first ever gold medal in the sport, running the table after losing their first four games. With that win there has been more buzz around the event than ever, and as your resident curling fiend, I am here to provide your guide to the curling at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.


A Quick Guide to Curling


Curling at the Olympics is broken down into three events with a men’s tournament, women’s tournament, and mixed doubles. For any new curling fans joining us, here is a basic run down: each person slides two rocks down a sheet of specially made ice towards the rings (the house), with the object being to get rocks as close to the middle to score. One person, the skip, stands in the house and directs players where to shoot, while two players sweep the rock. The ice is specially made so the rocks will bend their trajectory as they slide down the ice, which is called curl. Each team shoots eight rocks alternating, with the last team to shoot having what is called the hammer. The object is to score as many points in the game, which is broken down into ends instead of quarters or halves. An end is completed when all sixteen rocks (eight per team) have reached the other end of the sheet; most games are traditionally eight or ten ends.


The men’s and women’s tournaments consist of ten teams of four members (plus an alternate). Mixed doubles curling, however, is a newer game, with twelve teams consisting of one man and one woman, playing with modified rules. The scoring rules are the same as in the traditional game, but each team only has five rocks, instead of eight, and each end begins with two rocks in place in the house to begin. The only other difference is the game length being eight ends instead of ten. Mixed doubles curling is an interesting discipline within curling as not all of the pairs involved are committed to mixed doubles curling full time; many compete in traditional four person teams for much of the season, while there are others who are full time mixed doubles pairs.


The Field


Mixed Doubles


Australia

Tahli Gill

Dean Hewitt

Canada

Rachel Homan

John Morris

China

Fan Suyuan

Ling Zhi

Czech Republic

Zuzana Paulová

Tomáš Paul

Great Britain

Jennifer Dodds

Bruce Mouat

Switzerland

Jenny Perret

Martin Rios

United States

Vicky Persinger

Chris Plys

Norway

Kristin Skaslien

Magnus Nedregotten

Italy

Stefania Constantini

Amos Mosaner

Sweden

Almida de Val

Oskar Eriksson



Part of what makes mixed doubles interesting and fun is the inclusion of non-traditional curling nations such as, Australia, alongside the more traditional curling powerhouses such as Canada and Sweden. The favourites for the gold among this field are the usual suspects such as Sweden, Norway, Canada and Great Britain. Switzerland are the best example of mixed doubles specialists and will have a good shot at the playoffs, however their entry into the games was not smooth and needed to rely on a tie breaker with the United States, a much weaker rink. Teams like Australia, Italy, Czech Republic, China and the United States will all be looking to improve their performances and make the playoffs, but they are long shots for the medal rounds.


Where: The Beijing National Aquatics Center


When: Mixed doubles competitions begin February 2 with the medal rounds taking place on February 7 and 8.



Women's Tournament

Canada

Jennifer Jones

Kaitlyn Lawes

Jocelyn Peterman

Dawn McEwen

Lisa Weagle

China

Han Yu

Wang Rui

Dong Ziqi

Zhang Lijun

Jiang Xindi

Denmark

Madeleine Dupont

Mathilde Halse

Denise Dupont

My Larsen

Jasmin Lander

Great Britain

Eve Muirhead

Vicky Wright

Jennifer Dodds

Hailey Duff

Mili Smith

Japan

Satsuki Fujisawa

Chinami Yoshida

Yumi Suzuki

Yurika Yoshida

Kotomi Ishizaki

ROC

Alina Kovaleva

Yulia Portunova

Galina Arsenkina

Ekaterina Kuzmina

Marina Komarova

South Korea

Kim Eun-jung

Kim Kyeong-ae

Kim Cho-hi,

Kim Seon-yeong

Kim Yeong-mi

Sweden

Anna Hasselborg

Sara McManus

Agnes Knochenhauer

Sofia Magbergs

Johanna Heldin

Switzerland

Alina Pätz

Silvanna Tirinzoni

Esther Neuenschwander

Melanie Barbezat

Carole Howald

United States

Tabitha Peterson

Nina Roth

Becca Hamilton

Tara Peterson

Aileen Geving



The women’s side is headlined by some heavy hitters who are surely to compete for gold. Eve Muirhead and her British rink are looking to get back on the podium after a bronze medal finish in Sochi, while reigning Olympic and 2019 World Champion Anna Hasselborg and Sweden are seeking to repeat. Canadian curling GOAT Jennifer Jones is making only her second ever Olympic appearance and is hoping to go two-for-two and score another gold for her already full trophy case. South Korea and Japan are not to be forgotten about in these Olympics either, as the reigning silver and bronze medalists respectively. Fujisawa and Kim Eun-jung have been ascending the international curling ranks and their hard work has been paying off; don’t sleep on them. It’s a deep field and there is going to be no shortage of competitive curling to watch.


Where: The Beijing National Aquatics Center


When: Women’s competitions begin February 10 with the round robin concluding on February 17, with medals being awarded February 19 and 20.



Men’s Tournament


Canada Brad Gushue Mark Nichols Brett Gallant Geoff Walker Marc Kennedy

China Ma Xiuyue Zou Qiang Wang Zhiyu Xu Jingtao Jiang Dongxu

Denmark Mikkel Krause Mads Nørgård Henrik Holtermann Kasper Wiksten Tobias Thune

Great Britain Bruce Mouat Grant Hardie Bobby Lammie Hammy McMillan Jr Ross Whyte

Italy Joël Retornaz Amos Mosaner Sebastiano Arman Simone Gonin Mattia Giovanella Norway Stefan Walstad Torger Nergård Markus Høiberg Magnus Vågberg Magnus Nedregotten

ROC Sergey Glukhov Evgeny Klimov Dmitry Mironov Anton Kalalb Sweden Niklas Edin Oskar Eriksson Rasmus Wranå Christoffer Sundgren Daniel Magnusson

Switzerland Benoît Schwarz Peter de Cruz Valentin Tanner Pablo Lachat

United States John Schuster Chris Plys Matt Hamilton John Landensteiner Colin Hufman


The men’s group is a little more top heavy than the women’s, but that’s not to say there aren’t some very talented teams in this field. At the top of the contender’s board are regular suspects like Canada, Sweden and Great Britain; Gushue last represented Canada at the Olympics in 2006, while Bruce Mouat (Great Britain) is one of the hottest curlers in the world right now, with legitimate claim to being the best stone-thrower on the planet. Niklas Edin and team Sweden are seeking to avenge their gold medal loss to the streaking Americans lead by John Schuster. After being rejected by USA Curling for their high-performance camp, despite being the most decorated American curler, Schuster put together a team of “misfits” before the 2018 Olympics and managed to beat not only all of the USA Curling backed teams but went on a magical run to claim USA’s first ever gold medal in curling. Can he avoid his traditional slow start to the tournament and keep his place atop the podium, or will the magic run out? Canada, Sweden and Great Britain will all be waiting for him if it does.


Where: The Beijing National Aquatics Center


When: Men’s competitions begin February 9, with the round robin concluding on February 17, with medals being awarded February 18, and 19.


The field is set and the ice is ready; it's time to get ready to rock. . .and yes, the puns are intended.