The 2022 Olympics will begin with mixed doubles curling on Wednesday. Here's what to know about the sport before competition begins.
What is mixed doubles curling?
Mixed doubles curling is largely the same as regular curling, with the same scoring and goals.
The difference is mixed doubles is played with just two players rather than four. Each team has one man and one woman on the ice.
The game is shorter too, with five stones per end, and eight ends per game. One player will deliver the rock for the first and last throw of each end, and the other will deliver rocks two, three, and four. What player fills each roll can change throughout the game.
In mixed doubles, each end also starts with both teams placing one rock in play, either in the house or as a guard.
Each team also has one power play per game, allowing them more options for where they want to place their first stone.
What teams are competing?
Ten countries will compete in the Olympics this year, up from eight that competed in 2018.
Who are the favorites?
Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat, the team representing Great Britain, are the most recent mixed double world champions. Dodds and Mouat won the World Championship as Team Scotland, and will be making their first Olympic appearances.
The duo defeated Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten in the World Championship finals, but unlike Dodds and Mouat, the Norwegian team has Olympic experience, having competed in the 2018 Games.
Another team likely to compete for a medal is Team Canada, which consists of John Morris and Rachel Homan. The duo were chosen to represent Canada in this year’s Games after the country canceled it’s Olympic Trials due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Morris won gold in mixed doubles at the 2018 Games with partner Kaitlyn Lawes, and also won gold in men’s curling in 2014. He’s looking to become the first curler in history to win three Olympic medals.
Homan and Morris last competed together in mixed doubles in 2017.
The team from Switzerland – Jenny Perret and Martin Rios – will also be competing for a medal. The duo took home silver at the 2018 Games.
What about Team USA?
The U.S. will be represented by Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys. You can read more about them here.
Anything else I should know?
This year marks just the second time mixed doubles curling will be played at the Olympic Games.
A team from Australia will be competing in curling for the first time, after Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt defeated Korea in a December Olympic Qualifying Event to make this year’s field. Gill and Hewitt have been working together for three-and-a-half years.
The team representing China was an automatic qualifier into the event because the country is hosting this year's games.
When is it on?
Mixed doubles curling will begin at 7:05 a.m. EST on Wednesday. You can find the full schedule here.