Top U.S., Canadian curlers end tourney on Sunday

08/09/2014 5:00 PM

08/09/2014 5:01 PM

The Charlotte Curling Association’s third annual Grits ’n’ Granite Bonspiel that ends Sunday at Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail has featured some of the top curlers from the United States and Canada, including four-time U.S. Olympic curler Debbie McCormick.

The event has included 128 competitors.

McCormick competed on four Winter Olympic teams – 2014 (10th place), 2010 (10th), 2002 (fourth) and 1998 (fifth) – and nine times in the Women’s World Championship, winning gold in 2003 and silver in 2006. She is an eight-time U.S. national champion.

Other internationally known curlers who’ve competed this weekend are Canadian Alex Forrest and Charlotte Curling member Jamie Sinclair.

Forrest, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was recently selected for two-time men’s world champion Jeff Stoughton’s team. He was the 2010 Canadian Junior National silver medalist and 2013 Manitoba Curling Tour champion.

Sinclair was tapped by the U.S. Curling Association to participate in its “High Performance” Project 2018 program, designed to train Olympic-caliber athletes. She lives and trains in Ottawa, Ontario.

Curling began in medieval Scotland. Curlers send a 42-pound granite stone down a strip of ice about 150 feet long toward a circular target. The goal is to get as many “rocks” to the center of the circle as possible.

Curling tradition holds that competitors are piped onto the ice by a bagpiper, followed by a toast to the piper with a shot of Scotch.

Elimination round play began on Friday, and the championship game is at 11 a.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

The nonprofit Charlotte Curling Association has at least 80 members from across the Charlotte region.

The association is scheduled to move to a new curling facility in north Charlotte this fall. The 17,000-square-foot facility will feature 12,000-square feet of ice, plus locker rooms, a break room and other amenities.

The facility on Old Statesville Road will bring expanded curling opportunities to Charlotte, including women’s, men’s, college and youth leagues, as well as opportunities for people who are visually impaired and who have other disabilities.

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