The Post-Sochi Curling Boom

The Winter Olympics in Sochi in February captured the public’s imagination with over 600 hours of live sport being shown live on the BBC. One of the sports that achieved the most attention in the UK was Curling, with both the British men’s and women’s teams achieving medals.

Two weeks ago The Wee G went to a Try Curling session to sample the sport for the first time.  Have other Glaswegians been similarly inspired to try the sport? Is it a different age group of players that are now taking up the sport?

When The Wee G visited the Braehead Curling Rink, we were informed by coach Colin Keir that they had already taken 100 enquiries about the sessions by 11 o’clock that morning.

He said: “There’s already been a fantastic response. We’ve got over 300 people here trying curling. We took over 100 enquiries this morning.”

“The idea is that we need more and more youngsters; it’s a young person’s game now.”

Colin went on to explain that the perception of curling has changed due to both the differing age profile of the curlers and the increasing professionalism in the sport.

“If you think about 12 years ago, Rhona Martin, [Gold winning skipper of 2002 GB Winter Olympic Curling team] she was a housewife; now it’s a young person’s game. They spend a lot of time in the gym, working really hard at it.”

Ewan Mowatt was one of the many younger participants at Braehead Arena, and he spoke to The Wee G after trying the sport for the first time: “There’s quite a stigma: you think it’s all older people. The team that won the gold [in 2002] were all a bit older, but it’s definitely a younger generation now. Anna Sloan is just a couple of month’s older than me.”

Bruce Harley, Leisure Manager at Intu Braehead, was able to give The Wee G details on early participation numbers.

He said: “We will see in excess of 600 new comers of all ages trying the sport over three weekends due to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“The level of participation has far exceeded my expectations.

“We have just about reached the point of critical mass when there is literally no more ice available as its all booked up, which is a nice complaint to have.

“I wish the Winter Olympics were every year and not every four years!”

Follow Mark on Twitter @Markyboy89

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