Olympics 101: Curling, Part 1 - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Olympics 101: Curling, Part 1

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The Winter Olympics are just around the corner, and we'll be showing them on the NBC family of networks. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be sharing some key terms and nuances with the help of local athletes to help you cheer on Team USA.

The Billings Curling Club teamed up with us for our first segment. A curling team is made up of four players, led by a player called a skip.

"A skip's kind of the team captain. It's his job to kind of direct play," says Chris Belback from the BCC. "He's the one who sees things out, where he wants the stone to get thrown to, and kind of sets up the play to get points." The skip is usually one of the most experienced and skilled players on the team.

All four players take turns as the thrower. Each player throws two stones during each "end," which is similar to an inning in baseball. The skip will usually throw last, with another player, known as a vice-skip, advising him on the throw.

When they aren't throwing or directing throws, players take turns as sweepers.

"The sweepers' job is to basically make it go father and straighter," Belback says. "Some people think it speeds it up. It actually doesn't, it just maintains the speed throughout the throw." The skip will yell at the sweepers to sweep if he wants to keep the stone on course and moving faster, or call them off if he wants the stone to begin turning and slow down.

We'll have more on curling and other winter sports as we near the start of the Olympic Games. In the meantime, for those who would like to try curling for themselves, the Billings Curling Club is hosting a clinic on Saturday, January 25.  It starts at 7:30 PM and costs ten dollars. You can visit the club's Facebook page for more information.