Broomgate Scandal Rocks Curling


[bleep!] the elections, here’s something really important.


Broomgate Scandal Rocks Curling

The broom, you might think, has little room for improvement. Take a handle and some bristles, fasten together, and enjoy a perfectly competent cleaning device.Necessity may be the mother of invention, but sometimes fame and fortune become the adoptive parents. As the sport of curling has professionalized since its reintroduction to the Olympics in 1998—that’s the competition where stones are slid along the ice with two players furiously sweeping the preceding terrain—the investment in broom R&D has gone up, too. (Independent of Proctor & Gamble’s Swiffer, mind you.)

Therein arose a problem: Broomgate, as it’s predictably being called. Until last November, the World Curling Federation hadn’t really regulated the type of brooms curlers could use. This is, after all, a sport that still mines the quarry of an uninhabited Scottish island for all its micro-granite stones.
In this vacuum of regulation arose something called “directional fabric,” which permits more extreme course-changing down the lane. One company in this market, Hardline Curling, touts its icePad’s patent-pending technology that brushes only the small ice pebbles atop the lane. The president of Balance Plus, an industry leader, responded in an open letter urging an unnamed company (cough cough, Hardline, cough cough) to “Do The Right Thing and stop using directional fabric.”

Any novice who’s stumbled onto a televised match has probably wondered how much control the sweepers really have in generating enough friction to change the stone’s trajectory. Well, as former world champion Glenn Howard told SportsNet in Canada last fall, “It’s a type of fabric that allows you to virtually steer the rock. I use the phrase ‘joystick’. I can now joystick right, left, forward, back.


Not sure we’re going to find a way back from this one. Surely the world has changed permanently.:p

That said, competition always looks for an advantage and unless curtailed by the governing committee, technological advances will always be used to greatest advantage.


Well you can’t be completely away from the election. All this talk about brooms made me think of one of the presidential candidates:)


You think one of them is going to sweep the Electoral College?

Or clean up Congress?

Or convert to Jainism? :hmmm:


Or move to Oz ?


Man, now I have the “March of the Winkies” running through my head…
O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!
O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!
Would it be wrong to pray for a downpour of rain on Inauguration day if a certain person were elected? We could give their broom to the US curling team, though I don’t know how useful it would be after they used it as a torch to try burning American society to the ground. :whistle:


Reading the article reminds me of the uproar about swimsuits 8 to 10 years ago when a bunch of world records were broken because of the design of certain full body suits.

I guess the question is what is the essence of curling? Is the technology making the sweeping more efficient or is it making it so that it is no longer sweeping but something else?

It’s funny to me how a relatively obscure sport like curling can grow in popularity over 15 to 20 years to now have it’s own -gate scandal.


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