The mesmerizing and intriguing sport of Wheelchair Curling returns to the Winter Paralympics at Beijing 2022. Discover what you might not know about this fascinating game…
1. Curling has been described as the “Roarin’ Game,” with the ‘roar’ coming from the noise of a granite stone as it travels over the ice.
2. Its origins can be dated back to paintings from the 16th century. Flemish artist, Pieter Bruegel, portrayed an activity similar to curling being played on frozen ponds.
3. Wheelchair Curling was developed in the 1990s and was added to the Paralympic Winter Games at Torino 2006.
4. At the Paralympics, players have just one chance to get a gold medal. Athletes go for the single title on offer in a mixed-gender team event.
5. Wheelchair Curling is the biggest team sport at the Games, featuring 12 countries!
6. China emerged as the new kids on the block at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, breaking the dominance of Canada who had won at all previous editions. The Chinese claimed the win just four years before their home Paralympics at Beijing 2022.
7. In Wheelchair Curling, athletes do not sweep the ice to maneuver the stone to its final position. This means the throw must be very precise.
8. The stones must be delivered from a stationary wheelchair, the athletes’ feet must not touch the ice and the wheels of the chair must be in contact with the ice. The stone can be delivered by either a conventional arm/hand release or by using a delivery stick (a stick with a bracket that fits over the handle on the stone).
9. Wheelchair Curling is open to athletes who have a physical impairment in the lower half of their body, including spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and double-leg amputation.
10. At Beijing 2022 it will be frozen water rather than a swimming pool which will be the focus of everyone’s attention, in contrast to the Summer Paralympics in 2008, as Wheelchair Curling heads to the Water Cube which staged Para-swimming 13 years ago.
Source: International Paralympic Committee