Paralympic Preview: Wheelchair Curling

With all the hustle and bustle around the 2014 Winter Olympics, some people may forget another huge event that is happening just two weeks after the closing ceremonies: the Paralympic Winter Games, running March 7 to 16 in Sochi, Russia! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing information and stories on the Paralympics to get you ready to root for Team USA!

Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

The next sport we will be detailing for the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi is wheelchair curling. First, let’s talk curling in general. If you don’t know about Canada’s national sport (I know, I thought it was hockey, too), let me tell you a little bit “aboot” it. See what I did there?

In curling, players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area which is divided into four rings. Two teams of four take turns sliding the stones toward the “house” which is a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones, and to win, one team must get the highest score by getting stones closest to the “centre” of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is when each team throws all of their stones.

Wheelchair curling is an adaptation of curling for athletes with a disability affecting their lower limbs or gait. The game is played with the same rocks and ice as regular curling, but the rocks are thrown from a wheelchair and there is no sweeping. The rocks can be thrown by a delivery stick, which is a pole with a bracket that fits over the rock’s handle, or by hand while leaning over the side of the wheelchair.

The US has never medaled in wheelchair curling at the Paralympic games, but that could all change this year. They placed fourth last year, and have some momentum going in Sochi. Check out the video below to learn more about wheelchair curling and meet members of Team USA!

How do you think Team USA will do in wheelchair curling? Can they bring back a medal from Sochi? Will you be watching? Tell us in the comment section below.

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