How to rock at Olympic curling

Published: Feb. 27, 2014 at 1:25 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, SC (WIS) - An Olympic event is sweeping its way into South Carolina.

In a cold ice rink in Greenville, preparations mean numbers, stones, and ice just right.

"It's catching on," said Michel Planke.

It's not a hockey game or an ice skating lesson.

"I think people are surprised," said Ryan Smith.

It's time to rock it, Southern style.

"This is our time in the spotlight," said Mathew Jones. "It's such a weird, little, kind of, underground sport. This is our time."

The Palmetto Curling Club started in Greenville in 2010.

"We have curlers from 20 up to 75. As long as you can walk down the ice, you can curl," said Smith, a member of the club.

It might sound like a simple sport.

"The goal is to get as many rocks to the center of the ring as possible," said Smith.

It might even look like a like a simple sport.

"People think you just throw the rock, but there's a lot of strategy," said Planke, president of the club.

For most people, it's a lot harder than it seems. You also have to sweep, which is a whole other beast.

"It's a pretty intense motion. You have to sweep pretty hard, but it's a good workout," said Sherri Odlevak, a member of the club.

Sweeping melts a little ice in front of the stone, hopefully making it go the distance.

"If you have to sweep a lot, you're definitely tired at the end of the night," said Smith.

Curling is a sport you don't see much of in the South.

"People are astounded when they see a team pop up from South Carolina," said Jones, a member of the club.

"Typically the winter sports here are not very popular," added Planke.

Planke is no stranger to the icy fun.

"I started with my dad when I was 14-years-old in Montreal, Canada," explained Planke.

Planke has a lot of experience curling, but others are still learning.

"I've always been intrigued by the sport, just fascinated by it. I found out it was here and showed up to an open house," said Jones.

"Curling was something that a lot of my friends did up in Minnesota and they did it opposite of golf in the summer. I read an open house in the paper and it said, come on out and try, and so I said, perfect," said Odlevak.

Club members hope the 2014 Winter Olympics will encourage other South Carolinians to give curling a shot.

The Palmetto Curling Club is always looking for new members. There's also a club trying to get started in Columbia.

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