One of my favorite parts of the Olympics is learning about the back stories of Olympic athletes. I am on various websites discovering new faces and new stories. When I saw the headline from Yahoo Sports (see below), I thought to read it as my wife and daughter are big fans of curling. Part of my wife’s interest was her seeing the movie, “The Simsons,” on an international flight. It is a story of Japanese team of women curlers.
With the article, I did some of my own research…
How is this for positioning statement — “Manufacturer and supplier of the best curling stones in the world made from Ailsa Craig Granite?” And then pair it with “Kays Curling have the sole rights to harvest Ailsa Craig granite for curling stone production.” If you are like me, you had no idea how special the materials and construction of Olympic curling stones are. And all of the rights belong to one company, Andrew Kay & Co Ltd., commonly referred to as Kays. And Kays has been making curling stones since 1851.
Reading the article on Yahoo Sports is what first intrigued me, especially these two sentences:
It turns out there are very few types of rock in existence that can withstand the stress of gliding along melting ice and smashing into more rock. Most granite is too quartz-rich for it to withstand the impact under curling conditions, which is what makes the granite found on a tiny deserted island off the Scottish coast so special.
AN INTERESTING BACKSTORY
The story of Kays Curling is an interesting one. Some highlights directly below and more details can be found through the links.
- Ailsa Craig is a tiny island, nearly two miles in circumference
- It is a strategic landmark in the channel between Ireland and Scotland
- Rising to 1,110 feet, it was formed from volcanic activity some 60,000,000 years ago
- Kays harvests between 1,600 tons of Ailsa Craig Common Green granite and 400 tons of Ailsa Craig Blue Hone granite every 10 years or so
- Ailsa Craig was used as a prison during the 18th to 19th centuries.
- It is uninhabited today and is a bird sanctuary
– Yahoo Sports article – “Every Curling Stone Ever Used In The Olympics Has Come From One Tiny Island”
– Forbes article – “Winter Olympics Geology: An Ancient Volcano Provides The Best Curling Stones Worldwide”
Photography Source: Wikimedia/flickr, popejon2