New Olympic Curling discipline

At the Pyeongchang OG for the first time medals will be played in Mixed Doubles Curling. In the new Olympic discipline Russia will be presented by Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitskiy.

According to the President of the World Curling Federation Kate Caithness, mixed doubles is a discipline with more  tight time frames, and therefore  it differs much from the traditional Curling.

‘At the Summer Games in Rio the Rugby 7s competitions showed that shortened variants of traditional, well known kinds of sport may arouse additional interest. The inclusion of mixed in the Olympic program means that for the first time Curling will be daily presented at the OG. And that will give our sport unprecedented visibility’, said Kate Caithness.

It also offer new opportunities for athletes from the countries, where Curling is not yet very developed.

‘Competitions among mixed doubles will give more weak or young federations a chance to rich the podium. For example, once representatives of  Hungary became world champions in the mixed discipline, and in 2014 athletes of Spain took bronze. And in 2010 everybody was surprized by the New Zeland pair. They became second’, added Head of the WCF.

Mixed differs from the traditional Curling, where the team consists of four athletes, and the game is made up of 10 ends. In double combination the game lasts 8 ends, which makes it much. Each team throws five stones  instead of eight. The player delivering the team’s first stone of the end also delivers the team’s final stone of the end. Another member of the team delivers second, third and fourth stones. Thrower can be changed in every end. Both players have brushes and the one who delivered the last stone in the direction of the house sweep the ice surface in the path of the stone together with his team partner. Also in Mixed Double “thinking time” is s reduced to 22 minutes.

In the beginning of the end two stones are placed on ice, one for each team. Both stones are placed on the centre line, one in the center of the house, the other one in the area between the hog and tee line (the line, that must be crossed by the stone to stay in game). The team which lost the end has the right to place two stones in the beginning of the next end. These stone should not be touched. Other stones also can not be placed until the last stone is thrown.

‘In the Mixed Doubles Curling each throw is more dynamic, since the number of stones, which should be saved, is fewer and fewer’, explains young Canadian curler Colin Hodgson, who, just like Reed Carrathers, 2011 World Curling champion among men, began to play in Mixed Doubles. Couples Hodgson – Chelsea Carey and Carraters – Joanne Courtney will represent Canada at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

‘Mixed is very different from the traditional Curling and we continue to study different combinations. We have a much more power game. It’s funny that skips in the locker room complain  that all their muscles   hurt’, says Hodgson.

On April 29, 2017, Swiss double Jenny Perret and Martin Rios won the World Cup finals dy defeating the Canadians Courtney and Carraters. The intrigue lasted until the last end: everything was decided by Courtney’s mistake during the last throw, when Canada had a three-point lead. In turn, Jenny Perret,, brought Switzerland four points with her final throw and brought victory with a score of 6:5.

Thus, the Swiss became World Champions among mixed doubles for the sixth time from the first World Championships in 2008. For  Rios it’s his second title (he won the first one in 2012 together with  Nadine Liman). Switzerland for the fifth time overcame the World Championships without defeats, taking the baton from the Russian duo Anastasia Bryzgalova – Alexander Krushelnytsky, who became the strongest at the World Championships last year.

‘Our dreams are coming true. To play against Canada in the finals of the World Cup in Canada and to win – it’s fantastic!’ said Rios.

World Championship 2017 is a qualifying tournament for the 2018 OG. On the results of the competition in Lethbridge, Canada, the teams of Switzerland, Canada, China, Norway, Finland, Russia, the United States won the right to compete at the Olympics, and South Korea got the right to enter the Games without qualifying.

Joanne Courtney, silver medalist of the 2017 World Cup: ‘We are proud of ourselves! Our task was to ensure Canada’s participation in the Olympic Games, and we did it. And we even won a medal!’