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. Curling is much too dangerous for competition …. as is boxing , bobsled and others. Olympics should be eliminated as rip-off of taxpayers by the slavelords ( putin ) , pirates ( putin ) and oligarchs … ( putin ) Hooray Pussy Riot

    putin is a code word for putin , obama , bush , clinton , lincoln , reagan ……

  2. Curling needs to stay. Take out the sports that require judges. Keep ski jumping. Those people “fly.”

  3. Get rid of the winter Olympics; as for the summer games, keep only the decathlon with only one competitor from each nation.

  4. I never understood why wrestling, one of the foundational sports of olympics, was eliminated, however temporarily.

    The Olympics have been thoroughly corrupted by money. They’re even talking up the possibility of allowing corporate sponsorship and Logos. Professional athletes? It’s almost unbelievable that the Olympics could have fallen so far from the original ideals.

    Curling is the only sport I watch anymore.

  5. “Now, if they were allowed to throw stones at IOC members, I might change my mind given the addition of greater physicality and popularity.”

    Hee, maybe the shooters could shoot at each other. That would be entertaining. All joking aside, I agree that the biathlon guys are very skilled athletes.

    Veronica, please don’t confuse *Professional* wrestling with the high school, college and Olympic sport.

  6. It may not require great physical strength, but it requires exquisite hand/eye coordination and very fine muscle control. They are hurling that stone 122 feet at a target that is mere inches, sometimes mere fractions of an inch. Often the intent, at which the suceed more often than fail, is to make their stone touch another stone without significantly moving it.

    Sport is not just about brute physical strength. It is about doing physical things. It doesn’t take brute strength to clear the hurdles when running a race. Strength is required to generate speed, but clearing the hurdles requires timing and body control.

  7. I agree with Mr Knauer. The entire Olympic event is a huge waste of time and money.

  8. Isn’t it true that Curling is among the “target sports?”

    And in many of these it doesn’t take a “real” athlete. Archery, shooting, and golf in summer compared to rowing, swimming and track.

    Olympic medals for dressage? Those are real athletes.

  9. Prof T, please don’t transfer your ire concerning Obama’s power grabs towards curling – the pet rock of the Olympics. Even if curling is the least physically challenging, so what? If it is eliminated for this reason alone then another event will take it’s place at the bottom of the heap. Then should that event be eliminated?
    To me the Olympics is supposed to be an international gathering. Many people will not care about one event or another. I think they have tried to keep traditional events as well as bring in others to bring in interests not particularly secular to the USA tastes. I figure we have much more to worry about than this in the games. If you like it watch it, if not then don’t.

    Hey, curling originated in Scotland and the official stones are quarried from Scotland and Wales. Remember, “If it’s not Scottish – it’s CRAP!

  10. Steve is absolutely correct about the biathlon. Those folks are Zen like in their ability.

  11. I’m kinda against pros playing in one sport or another…. I think ringers is the term…. Why can’t they have both…. Wrestling and curling….. Wrestling has a long history…. Golf come on…. Paint drys faster…..

  12. I knew nothing of curling until moving to Wi. It is a nuanced sport of skill and belongs in the Olympics. The Winter Olympics is really a new event, starting in most of our lifetimes. As new events are added, mostly involving skiing and snowboarding, traditional sports should also be added. I think bowling should be added. You know The Dude abides. But, there can’t be a beer frame.

  13. When you talk about shooting, let’s focus on the Biathlon.

    Get your heart rate up to 160 while being (very) out of breath; then try to shoot accurately.

    Very few can do it.

    If you had ever tried it, I think that you might have a better understanding of what is entailed – and what superb athletes these people are.

    Rather than trying to rule on what should/should not be excluded, we should be more inclusive of all sports – we do have the option of not watching what bores us without trying to impose our tastes on others.

  14. wresting as practiced in the US is not really a ‘sport’ either since it consists mainly of ‘pretend’ violence with lots of big grunting !!! It is something to laugh at while waiting for the other program to start ! Not sure how they get this to be ‘real’ when done in the Olympics, are we supposed to believe this stuff ? If so sorry – I wasn’t fooled !

  15. Although I agree that eliminating wrestling was a terrible idea, you have to be fair and understand that wrestling was not eliminated “in favor of golf”. Golf was added to the Olympics before the decision to eliminate wrestling was made. And, by the way, wrestling has now been reinstated.

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