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Winter Olympics Viewers Left Wondering What Lights Mean On Curling Stones

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Winter Olympics Viewers Left Wondering What Lights Mean On Curling Stones

One of the great things about the Winter Olympics is that it gives people the chance to watch sports that most don't ever play.

But because of that, the events also throw up a lot of questions for the average viewer.

One of thing that's been puzzling plenty out there are the flashing red and green lights on the top of the stones used in curling.

People have been taking to social media in search for answers, with one asking on Twitter: "Has anyone noticed that there are LED lights on the curling stones?"

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While another put: "What’s the deal with the lights on the stones..?"

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Well, we now have the answer.

The lights are just sensors, which are triggered when the curler - the person who slides down the ice with the stone before their teammates whip out their mops - goes past something called the 'hog line'.

The hog line is a visible red strip that goes across the curling sheet and marks where the curler has to release the stone.

If they go past the line before releasing it, this is something called a 'hog violation' and the lights will turn red.

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The stone will not count and it will be removed from play.

Unsurprisingly, this rarely happens at the very top level of the sport.

However, the system hasn't been having a great time of it this week, and the sensors have now been turned off.

Instead, an 'honour system' is being used, whereby players basically hold their hands up if they cross the hog line.

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According to reports, the problem is due to an issue with the battery compartments in the stones.

The lights are sensors. Credit: Alamy
The lights are sensors. Credit: Alamy

So for the rest of the event, it will be the players who call for fouls.

In a statement, the World Curling Federation said: "The chief ice technician and the technical delegates have determined that the handles currently in use will remain in place on the stones.

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"However, the electronic surveillance will be disconnected and manual hog-line judging will be in effect."

Canadian men’s captain Brad Gushue said he felt it was the right call but that it could have been done a bit earlier in the competition.

He told the Toronto Star: "I’m glad they went this route. They probably should have done it much earlier than what they did. 

"But I don’t see any issues going forward."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Winter Olympics, China, Technology, Twitter

Dominic Smithers
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