How do you improve the Winter Olympics? The answer is simple: More Curling.
The International Olympic Committee announced today that mixed doubles curling will be added to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun had this piece on the good news here. Jones’ item points out some interesting differences between traditional four-person, same-gender curling and it’s two-person, opposite-gender cousin. Most notable is some of the countries that have won medals in the mixed doubles world championships, since the first such event took place in 2008: Hungary, Russia, Spain, New Zealand, Austria, France and the Czech Republic. These nations are hardly world curling powers under the traditional format. But now, with mixed doubles curling finding its way into the Olympics, the sport can potentially increase its fan base in places where it may otherwise have had difficulty attracting eyeballs and, more importantly, hearts. Go read the whole thing.
Also, Don Landry over at Yahoo! wonders if the news will cause Canadians to take the mixed doubles version of the sport more seriously.
For those of you less familiar with the rules of mixed doubles curling, the World Curling Federation included some additional information about the game in their news release. Check it out if you need to be brought up to speed.
Finally, for those of you keeping score, snowboard big air, a team Alpine skiing event, and mass start long-track speed skating have also been added to the 2018 Games, bringing the total number of events to 102.