Mixed Doubles curling confirmed for PyeongChang 2018 Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that Mixed Doubles curling has been approved as an additional event at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The announcement was made following IOC Executive Board meeting held in Lausanne, Switzerland earlier today.
This confirmation means that three curling events – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles, will now be part of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games programme.
Speaking of the announcement, World Curling Federation (WCF) President Kate Caithness said: “We are absolutely delighted with this news confirming that Mixed Doubles will be included in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Our athletes have showcased this exciting and dynamic alternative to traditional team curling at our World Mixed Doubles Championships for many years now and we’re thrilled that their progress has been rewarded by the IOC’s decision.”
She continued: “We are confident that that this addition to the Olympic programme will accelerate curling’s growth extensively over the coming years. As a result, this is another key step in the development of curling as we look to make our sport more accessible to everyone around the world.
Mixed Doubles curling is played on the same sheets of ice as ‘traditional’ curling. However, there are some key differences.
Instead of playing in teams of four, Mixed Doubles curling is for teams of two players – one male and one female (no alternate/spare player is allowed).
Teams have only six stones each (instead of eight) and one of those stones from each team is prepositioned on the centreline before each end of play starts.
Each team receives 22 minutes of Thinking Time and games are scheduled for eight ends – compared to 38 minutes and 10 ends for ‘traditional’ curling.
Speaking of the potential opportunities this decision may now bring, WCF President Kate Caithness said: “You just have to look at some of the teams who have won medals at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship over the past few years – the likes of Hungary, Spain and Austria for example. They are associations that are improving year on year, particularly in Mixed Doubles, but find it difficult to break through in traditional curling competitions. Now that this discipline will be part of the Games, many more associations will have a chance of winning an Olympic medal.”
She continued: “We also hope that national sporting bodies will release additional funding to support Mixed Doubles teams. As a consequence, this will help further develop our sport, particularly in some of the associations where Mixed Doubles is proving increasingly popular.”
The WCF will now progress with finalising the qualification process for the Mixed Doubles curling event at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Details of this process along with any changes to the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship will be announced at the upcoming World Curling Congress taking place in Belgrade, Serbia between 2-5 September 2015.
The next edition of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship will take place in Karlstad, Sweden between 16 and 23 April 2016 and it is expected that the new Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification System will be in place by then.