Is It Time To Get Rid Of Curling?

220px-Curlingstoneold220px-Curling_Canada_Torino_2006As many on this blog know, I have long been a critic of the International Olympic Committee which has long been accused of corruption, cronyism, and plain stupidity. One of the most outrageous decisions was the elimination of wrestling, one of the few original sports, in favor of events like golf with more wealthy supporters. (Wrestling was later reinstated after global outcry). My sense of confusion depended this week with the reappearance of curling — a sport viewed by 99 percent of people every four years and met with the same universal question: “why is this a sport?” I do not contest that curling is a sport, I just fail to understand why it is an Olympic sport (like shooting) when sports like wrestling were cut.

I know that I will hear from curling advocates, so let me be clear. I am happy curlers have a sport. I am happy it has a long history. However, I fail to understand why a curlers who releases a stone on an ice floor is given the same medal as the Nordic Combined which pushes athletes beyond any normal measure of human endurance. Indeed, curling is routinely listed as the least physically challenging sport in the games. It is called a sport version of chess, but the level of physicality is closer to chess than downhill skiing.

The act of sliding stones across a sheet of ice leave me wondering why shuttleboard or bocce or beanbag is not an Olympic sport. I have long felt the same way about shooting targets in the Summer Olympics.

Here is my point (yes I was getting to one): what is missing is any coherent test of what constitutes an Olympic sport in terms of physicality and difficulty. Indeed, the IOC seems primarily motivated by money. Take wrestling. It is physically and historically an Olympic sport. Yet, those athletes have been told that they are simply not Olympic material while sliding stones on ice is retained as is shooting as paper targets.

Yes, I know that the “sweeping” does include some exertion but I know people who do that all day long but barely make minimum wage, let alone an Olympic medal.

Let’s be clear. I have not stone in this competition. However, I feel a sense of gross unfairness in watching athletes collapse at finish lines only to flip over the curling competition to see stone sliding on ice. Notably, while shown on television, the stands of the curling competition appear virtually empty save for relatives. Now, if they were allowed to throw stones at IOC members, I might change my mind given the addition of greater physicality and popularity.

So I have to put it to a vote:

49 thoughts on “Is It Time To Get Rid Of Curling?”

  1. The winter Olympics celebrates winter sports. In countries and the handful of states that experience serious winter, curling is popular and understood. Where do volumes of sweat come into the equation? Curling may well have more fans globally than there are non-U.S. fans of the strange stop-and-go thing that Americans call ‘football.’

  2. J.T. – Where was an option to vote for eliminating the whole Dodd Gamned Olympics??? The whole thing is a Futher-Mucking Waste.

  3. Sorry Chuck, as a regular participant in Chicago area rush hour traffic, I’m not buying it. Those NASCAR drivers only work out so they look good in ad shots.

  4. Ok, everybody seems to agree that the albeit temporary elimination of wrestling bordered on sacrilege. However, everybody has their own view on (non) sports that do not belong in the Olympics. Parenthetically, my personal favorite for elimination is synchronized swimming. I do not doubt that it requires skill, but so does writing poetry. Nor do I doubt that it requires physical exertion, but so does climbing stairs. So, why not make writing poetry while climbing stairs an Olympic sport? I also have a beef with team sports that are not really team sports like team ice dancing. To qualify as a team sport it must either (1) have the participants doing their thing at the same time in roughly the same place and/or (2) involve a baton, swimming relays excepted. Otherwise, it isn’t really a team anything. It’s a bunch of individual performances added up in an artificial manner. For all Olympic decisions, I think a general rule of thumb is WWTGD: What would the Greeks do?

  5. Perhaps we should just go back to the original sports. Running, javelin, discus, and poetry reading, naked and slathered in oil.

  6. To the author: You might want to check your article before posting. It needs editing. Several grammatical errors and missing or extra words.

  7. I would like it more if they would sweep my driveway. At least throw some dirt down there for them to clean up instead of sweeping ice. Ice is already pretty clean so that just looks silly.
    Now shoveling snow would be a much better sport. I watch curling because it is hilarious but to call it a sport is really pushing it.
    How about a snowball fight with dodge ball rules? That would fill the seats. I can think of hundreds of made up sports that would be better than watching someone sweep. Snow Angels ? OK I’ll stop.

  8. I think the bally thingy used in curling is very useful–it would make a wonderful door stop.

  9. I agree that it should be eliminated. If cricket is boring to many, curling is like watching paint dry!! I had never heard of it and hope to never watch it again. I believe the comparison with chess is also erroneous. Chess is a game of mental agility… none of this needed for curling. It is a game of bowls on ice… fullstop. Bowls is also very boring.

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