PHILADELPHIA, …The unconventional sport described as “strangely mesmerizing” is coming to the Philadelphia region for the first time in 2012, when the USA Curling National Championships will be held at IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Curling, which captivates a growing number of people every four years during the Winter Olympics, has gained increasing popularity since it became an Olympic sport in 1998. There are now over 1.5 million people curling at various levels around the globe.
“The partnership between IceWorks and the Philadelphia Sports Congress presented a very strong bid,” said Chris Sjue, president of USA Curling, whose sport dates back to medieval Scotland. “During a recent site visit, we became convinced that their collaboration, along with the support of the local curling community, will make the 2012 USA Curling National Championships a successful and very exciting event.”
Comprised of two teams of four players each, curling features players (curlers) sliding 42-pound highly polished stones across a sheet of ice toward a target area, called a “house.” Each team delivers eight stones per end (like an inning), alternating shots with the opposition. At the conclusion of an end, the team with the stone closest to the center of the target area scores one point for each stone it has closer than the other team. Championship level games consist of ten ends, like innings in baseball.
Curling gets its name from the fact that the stones curve, or curl, while gliding down the ice. Players affect which way the stone will curl by turning the stone’s handle either clockwise or counter-clockwise during the delivery. As the stone travels toward the target, players may also sweep the ice in front of the stone, either to make it curl less (by slightly melting the ice surface with their sweeping), or to make it slide farther.
“Hosting the 2012 USA Curling National Championships further showcases Philadelphia as a dynamic and diverse sports destination,” said Larry Needle, executive director, Philadelphia Sports Congress, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Whether it’s curling, table tennis, squash, dragon boat racing or the more traditional sports, Philadelphia is proud to host events of all shapes and sizes.”
The 2012 USA Curling National Championships are a collaborative effort which includes the City of Philadelphia; IceWorks; Delaware County, Pennsylvania; the Philadelphia Sports Congress (PSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the area curling community.
The Philadelphia Sports Congress (PSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.PhiladelphiaUSA.travel, seeks to attract major sporting events and conventions to the Philadelphia area. The Sports Congress, working in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia, the city’s professional teams and universities, has attracted many events to the city and is currently working on bids for future sporting events.