GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — A rare moment of controversy in the typically ultra-polite sport of curling erupted Friday over a foul known as a “burned rock” in the Canada vs. Denmark women’s match.
The drama unfolded in the fifth end, or period, of the already tense game, when a Danish player touched a stone that was in motion. That is a foul called a “burned rock.”
When burned rocks occur, the opposing team has three choices: They can ignore the foul, rearrange the stones to whatever position they think they would have ended up if the stone hadn’t been touched, or remove the stone from play.
Canada’s captain, or “skip,” Rachel Homan chose to remove the stone. While such a move was within her rights, it is considered the most aggressive option. Canada, which was behind before the foul, then went on to score four points, taking the lead at 6-4.
In most sports, this wouldn’t even be considered a controversy. But curling has a deeply ingrained ethos of good sportsmanship, and players are usually exceedingly polite to their rivals. Tweets from curling fans immediately began to flow, with some criticizing the move as unsportsmanlike.