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Columbus Curling Club Gets Boost From Olympics

With the Winter Olympics comes an array of sports many people see once every four years -- ski jumping, cross country skiing, speed skating, and ice dancing, to name a few. But none are stranger and more interesting than the sport of curling.

For WOSU's new sports podcast After the Score, Thomas Bradley spoke with Gordon Webster from the Columbus Curling Club. The Columbus Curling club has Learn-to-Curl clinics starting next week, and Webster said spots are already more than 3/4 of the way full.

He said in addition to normal clinics, this year the club will be offering wheelchair clinics with members of the US Paralympic team.

TB: Every four years, clubs across the nation see a spike in interest in curling when the Winter Olympics puts this sport on TV. The Columbus Curling Club is no exception, correct?

GW: We have a huge spike in interest every four years when the Winter Olympics come on. It was particularly strong [four years ago] in Vancouver because it was in North America and it was on TV a lot more. Last Winter Olympics we had almost 1,200 people come through Learn-to-Curl clinics in one week, and we had another 700 people on a waiting list that we just couldn't accommodate.

TB: Let's play Curling 101. Why is it called curling?

GW: Well there's some debate on that. Curling began, the oldest curling stone they found is from 1511, so it began in Scotland in the late 1400's early 1500's. A lot of people think its because a curling stone will curl. But they didn't curl back then because they were just playing on a frozen pond or a river, and the stones didn't curl, they were just throwing flat river rocks back then. A lot of people believe it's from an old Scottish word, "curr,"  which refers to the noise that the stones would make when they slide down the ice. It's kind of a roar. A lot people say it's the roar of the rink. It's the game that roars.

Click the play button above to hear more of their conversation.