What is the hammer in curling?

What is the hammer in curling?

Curling, appearing at the Winter Olympics for the second time, is a curious and tactical sport that has gained much popularity this year.

There are three medal events in Beijing 2022, with ten countries entering each, with 114 competitors taking part.

The mixed doubles format - which Team GB favorites Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Maut saw their Olympic debut - was introduced during the men's and women's team competitions at the last Games in Pyeongchang.

This means that they can deliver the final stone at one end and have the advantage of scoring at least one point and potentially winning at that end.

Whichever team doesn’t score during an end will get the hammer in the next round - because of this rule, sometimes teams try to avoid scoring just a single point, preferring to retain the hammer and score more points in the next end.

The hammer is retained if neither team scores. In championship curling, the hammer is decided by a draw to the button with two players from each team delivering a stone as close as possible to the center of the house.

Having the hammer means throwing the final stone of an end. It is also known as the last stone advantage.

This is an advantage, as with all other stones thrown, the thrower has a clear picture of how the end has played out, and what they need to do to win.

At the beginning of a game, which team has the hammer is decided by what is called a draw to the button. Two players from each team slide a stone – one clockwise and one anti-clockwise – aiming to get it as close to the center of the house as possible. Whichever team gets closest gets to decide who starts with the hammer.

After that, the hammer is always given to the loser of the previous round.

If there is no score in a round then the hammer is retained.

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