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Curl like an Olympian

Your dreams on the ice start with a trip to Seattle or Vancouver, B.C.

Artwork courtesy Metro

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An Olympic career is not out of the question. Have you seen those folks playing what looks a little like shuffleboard on the ice? That could be you one day on the podium -- a gold medalist in the sport of curling.

After all, we aren't talking about zero percent body fat and the need to start before you are 6 years old. Curling could be an option. I am not saying it is easy, but I do believe there might be a chance of taking up the sport before you are 40 years old and possibly realizing your Olympic dream.

To find out, you'll need to start with a curling class. You have likely already realized that here in the Pacific Northwest, curling is not a well-known sport ... let alone something you can learn to do just anywhere ... except maybe on a frozen Slip N Slide you build in your backyard.

But do not get discouraged, there are a couple places you can grab a broom and hurl a large rock down the sheet somewhat near to the South Sound. It is there you will find out if you have the balance and flexibility, plus the intuitive feel for the ice to be successful.

Closest to home is the Granite Curling Club in Seattle. For kids 7 to 18 years old, they have classes and leagues -- see This is perfect for learning early, when it is easier to get the styles ingrained. While curling may look easy, it is not -- especially for older adults. There is a balance you can't appreciate until you actually try it. Kids will take to that much easier.

For adults, the Granite Club has beginner leagues, practice ice times and open houses.  As you get better you can expand to regular leagues and regional tournaments ... beer not included.

Further north in Vancouver, B.C., on real Olympic ice from the 2010 Olympic Games, kids and adults can take one- and two-day classes to try out the sport. Visit The Vancouver Curling Club classes are roughly two hours each, and they comprehensively teach you the game as well as leave time to team up and play a bonspeil (curl talk for competition). If you have time or you're in-between jobs in the States, they even offer five-week classes to jump-start your Olympic dreams.

If you do this in Canada as well, you will be among locals who grew up on the sport, and likely, after class, you'll find yourself continuing the curl talk over a Labatts and plate of poutine.

Granite Curling Club, 1440 N 128th St., Seattle, 206.362.2446,

Vancouver Curling Club,4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver, B.C., 604.874.0122,

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