Broomstones in Wayland. (Facebook.com/Broomstones Curling Club)
WAYLAND (WBZ-AM) -- There are 102 medals that will be awarded over the 17 days of the Games. A record 92 countries are represented--and athletes are competing in 15 disciplines, which is another record.
Among the new medal events is the Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, which has two-member teams competing rather than four. The smaller team means shorter play time.
While curling's origins can be traced back to 16th century Scotland, it did not become a fully recognized medal event until 2006. Since then, the sport, which includes stones and brooms and of course ice, has been growing in size and interest.
If you walk into Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland, you instantly sense the camaraderie.
Shelly Dropkin has been curling since the 1970's.
"I love the fact that, you know, you wish each other good curling and the winners buy the losers a drink," she explains.
Her son, Korey Dropkin, grew up curling and was a runner-up for this year's US Olympic team.
Isabella Vakkur and Tom Ezquerro, team co-captains from Bowdoin College. (Mary Blake/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)
Sophie Walden, who is from Asheville North Carolina, is on the other side of the spectrum. She attends Bowdoin College in Brunswick Maine and admitted to some jitters as she took to the ice.
"I've never been on actual curling ice before. I'm a little terrified but it looks pretty fun," she laughed.
Walden was among a half dozen Bowdoin students who made the two and a half hour car trip to compete.
Team Co-Captain Tom Ezquerro, a Bowdoin senior, has been curling for four years.
"What's different about this sport, it's individual and it's team. Everyone is responsible for their own shot, but it's the communication between everyone out on the ice of, this stone is a little bit heavier, this stone is a little bit lighter, you know, I really need you to sweep. Everyone in their own individual way is making this dance happen out on the ice with the stones and it's really beautiful," he explains.
When he gets the "Isn't curling just the crazy pants and the yelling?" He'll respond "Come and give it a try."
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Mary Blake reports