Curling grows in popularity in Utah with Olympic Oval League
SALT LAKE CITY – It may be one of the most misunderstood sports in the Winter Olympics: curling.
A sport where players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target — some may say it’s not the most exciting game to watch, but for Utah’s Olympic Oval Curling League, the sport is anything but boring.
“It’s really fun to play once you get the hang of it,” Tatum Winslow, league member said.
The league is made up of about 50 athletes, some beginners and some advanced, all looking to have fun on the ice.
Tatum Winslow started playing seven weeks ago and has already committed to the sport by purchasing her own equipment.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” she said “It’s not hard to learn but it’s hard to get good at. It actually does take some skill and some practice, but I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Tatum said she signed up for the league at the beginning of the year since Winter Olympics were right around the corner. She said she’s now watching curling games with a different perspective.
“It’s fun being able to relate to those professional curlers out there and know that, that’s what I am trying to do right now, just get better at this sport,” Tatum said.
Instructor Melissa Majchrzak said the sport is becoming more popular in Utah. This season all of their classes are booked.
“We are growing the sport and we are very excited about that because we want to get more people out here trying it and getting involved,” Majchrzak said. “So the bigger we can grow it the better it is for us.”
The league has 12 teams, each with four members.
As for the equipment they use, all 96 of their curling stones are actual stones from the 2002 Salt Lake Games. They weigh 44 pounds each and are made of granite in Scotland.
Majchrzak said it is just one more element keeping the Olympic connection in Utah strong.
“It’s like being able to touch a little bit of Olympic history,” she said. “It’s important for people to realize curling is not just that goofy sport you see every four years.”
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