Curling officially reinvents itself

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Curling is a funny game. It never stops being a funny game. And yesterday it just got funnier.

Yesterday, at the congress in Japan, curling officially re-invented itself.

It invented a whole new curling game.

Mixed doubles - one guy, one gal.

And if that sounds like something invented to drink at a Brier Patch, that's not what happened. It was invented to end up in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Curling is trying to get another set of medals for curling in the Olympics and make it easier for more nations to put teams together for Olympic qualifying.

Originally the idea was for singles. But the IOC didn't like a proposal of essentially a Ford Hot Shots competition for Olympic medals and told curling to come back with something that involves both women and men but isn't too time consuming.

Voila! Mixed doubles.

With Edmonton about to be the epicentre of curling again, if it isn't normally, this is going to be a subject of much conversation here in the next two weeks.

It certainly will at the senior worlds whistle wetter which opens at the Thistle Sunday prior to the big show, the Ford World Curling Championships, at Rexall Place.

INTRODUCED NEXT YEAR

If mixed doubles had been officially invented a year ago, it would be part of the event here this year. As it happens, mixed doubles will be part of the senior worlds next year in Finland.

And while it may seem funny, it's also interesting. With only two curlers involved, one male and one female, you could put some rather interesting combinations together.

With the number of elite competitive curlers in Edmonton, Canada's first mixed doubles Olympic team could be expected to come from here.

For example, all the members of the Ferbey Four married curlers. They could all have their own teams.

Dave and Heather Nedohin might be the early favourites.

"Would I play with my wife? Absolutely! That is the right thing to say, isn't it? Just kidding. Of course, if we had a chance to make it to the Olympics we would. No question," was Dave's response yesterday.

Heather said: "Whoo-hoo! Awesome. I'm pumped. I'm sure Dave and I would give it a go. I don't know if he's going to like the idea of me throwing last rock, but ..."

That's how this event would work. Each team throws five rocks. The person who throws first rock, also throws the fifth rock. The other person throws the other three.

There are rocks planted as guards in front of the t-line and behind the button. There are a multitude of rocks in play and it's proven to be a lot of fun to watch, being a ready-made junk game.

"I don't think it's the best representation of the sport, but certainly it's a great opportunity to gain exposure to the sport," says Dave.

"Likely for non-curling fans, this model will be great because it will be a quicker game with more scoring.

"As for the sweeping, my information is that you are only allowed to sweep your own rock after throwing it. Based on that, you can forget about The Ferb," he said of skip Randy Ferbey.

It took curling the better part of a century to get into the Olympics. Now they are inventing something to create more medals?

BIG BELIEVER IN SINGLES

Warren Hansen of the Canadian Curling Association, says Olympics or no Olympics, this is the direction curling must go.

He was a big believer in singles.

"I think we should have introduced singles curling on the club level years ago. It has a lot of advantages in terms of taking up the sport in the first place and being able to play against people of the same competitive level.

"The advantage is that it can be done quickly in an hour. You can get the game in at a lunch break like racquetball.

"As for mixed doubles, it is very exciting and high scoring. It's two people vs. two people and it takes a short time as well. It's another option for people to take up playing the game. We're in dire need of that."

Wanna meet between the sheets?


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