Congratulations to the Canadian sled hockey team for bringing home the country's first gold medal in sled hockey. Canada beat the powerhouse Norwegian team by a score of 3-0. There's a good CBC story here.

Canada also took the gold for the new sport of wheelchair curling. Don't laugh - unless you laugh at curling anyway. It's almost exactly the same sport.

Too bad we couldn't see either game.


Amateur said...

I have a question about the wheelchair curling. (I should say up front that I love curling. I am watching curling as I write this.)

The question is this: is there sweeping? If so, how do the athletes sweep and move along with the stones?

Sorry for my ignorance... I have seen highlights of the shot-making, and of the results of the game-deciding shots, but I have not seen any replays of the stones travelling down the sheet.

laura k said...

Hey, I never even heard of wheelchair curling til I moved here.

I looked up the rules here. Apparently there is no sweeping.

Maybe it's not fair to say it's nearly the same sport? I don't know anything about curling, I don't really understand what the sweeping does in the first place.

James Redekop said...

Sweeping controls the speed and direction of the rock. Sweeping harder makes the ice slipperier, so the rock doesn't slow down (it travels farther); not sweeping slows the rock (it doesn't travel as far). Sweeping can add up to three meters to a throw.

Sweeping on one side but not the other will turn the rock, to enhance or counteract the spin the thrower put on it

All that yelling from the thrower is him telling the sweepers how to get the rock where he wants it.

There's some good info at Wikipedia.

James Redekop said...

Nice piece of Curling culture trivia from the Wikipedia article:

More so than in many team sports, good sportsmanship is an integral part of curling. For example, celebrating an error by the opposing team, fully acceptable in some sports, is frowned upon in curling. Even at the highest levels of play, a player is expected to "call their own fouls", so to speak, such as alerting the opposing skip if they burned a stone. It is also traditional for the winning team to buy the losing team a drink after the game. (This is in interesting contrast to the game of darts, where the loser traditionally buys the winner a drink by way of congratulations.)

laura k said...

(This is in interesting contrast to the game of darts, where the loser traditionally buys the winner a drink by way of congratulations.)

In bowling it's known as the "beer frame" - loser of the 7th frame buys the beer.

Amateur said...

I'm not a curler myself, so I can't really speak as an expert. But my impression is that without sweeping, curling is missing some of the subtleties that help to differentiate it from other cousins of bowling.

Anyway, I'll look forward to seeing some -- I see CBC is broadcasting Paralympic footage on three Saturdays in April. I don't expect to see entire games, but perhaps they will replay some crucial moments from the gold-medal final.

James Redekop said...

Removing sweeping would definitely change the game a lot. It's sweeping that lets you do those hooking shots that go straight down the ice then curl around the opposing rocks to stop deep in the house. You'd probably have to compensate by being much more careful with your throw.