world curling - The rOad to pYeonghaNg 2018
With the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games less than a month away, each International Federation participating will have a different vision for how the Games can shape the future of its sport. Curling was one of the sports at the inaugural Olympic Winter Games in 1924, and has been a mainstay in the Olympic programme since 1998.
We spoke to World Curling President and GAISF Council member Kate Caithness about engaging audiences, a new discipline and working with the Pyeongchang 2018 Organising Committee.
What are you most looking forward to at PyeongChang 2018?
The Olympics is a shop window to the world that only comes every four years. PyeongChang will provide a wonderful stage for our athletes to compete on and we are especially looking forward to the debut of the Mixed Doubles event.
As a new discipline, Mixed Doubles is a departure from the traditional form. You will see men and women competing together as a team. There is likely to be more stones in play, lots of strategic decisions and the introduction of a “powerplay”, which can help teams make big scores to extend leads or come back from deficits.
There are curling games being played every day of the Games (in fact we start the day before the opening ceremony) – with every game being televised, and that is a massive amount of coverage, and a great opportunity, for the sport.
What have you learned working with the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee?
Every Organising Committee is unique and it is the people on it that can make or break its success. We have been fortunate with POCOG to have worked with some great people on the curling team, who have proved enthusiastic and effective throughout.
How do you maximise fan experience at major events?
Sports presentation is crucially important for World Curling, and we have been working with the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee to make sure the audience in the venue is engaged and informed using the big screens.
Away from PyeongChang 2018, what initiatives has your Federation recently launched?
We have just announced a new Curling World Cup – an annual series of events that will run each season from 2018/19 to 2021/22. Supported and sponsored by Kingdomway Sports, the Curling World Cup will have four events each season and see the world’s top nations face each in other in Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles disciplines.
During our test event for the 2018 Olympic Games – the World Junior Curling Championships – we had a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stand in the venue, and invited all our junior athletes to participate. This proved to be an outstanding success, and it is something we may consider for future events.