Curling comes from Scotland, and its origins date back to the 16th century. The game spread across England, the USA and the Alpine countries, when the Royal Caledonian Curling Club was founded (1838), the oldest curling club in the world.
The first official competition was held in 1924 during the 1st Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix, in which Great Britain won ahead of Sweden and France. Curling was also played at the subsequent Olympic games (but as a demonstration sport) in Lake Placid (1932), and later in Calgary (1988) and Albertville (1992). Curling entered the Olympic program permanently during the competition held in Nagano in 1998.
Scotland and Canada agreed to establish the Scotch Cup in 1959 – a competition, in which only the teams from both countries took part. The tournament turned to be interesting also in other countries, who joined the competition in the following years: the United States (in 1961), Sweden (in 1962), Norway and Switzerland (in 1964), France (in 1966) and Germany (in 1967). Scotch Cup results have been recognized as Men’s World Championship results for the years 1959-1967.
The success of this tournament contributed to creation of an international curling federation. Representatives of six national federations: Scotland, Canada, the USA, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland met following an initiative of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in Perth in 1965. It was then that a decision was made to create an international committee operating at the club. Another meeting was held, with France joining as the seventh country, in March of the following year. At that time, a draft statute of the International Curling Federation (ICF) was prepared (finally adopted in 1967). The official establishment of the Federation was announced on April 1, 1966. The regulations applicable to competitions organized by the Federation were adopted during the annual ICF conference in 1968. The first official World Curling Championships were played in the same year (replaced the Scotch Cup). Women had to wait for their Championships until 1979.
Additionally, a tournament was held in Switzerland with the participation of six European teams: Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy and Norway in 1974. A meeting took place during this competition, at which, on the initiative of Jean Schild, a decision was made to organize the European Curling Championships. Jean Schild presented this proposal at the ICF conference in March 1975, where the final decision was made to organize European competitions for men and women. This competition was held for the first time in December of the same year in Megeve, France. It was also then that the European Curling Council was created, which was later transformed into the European Curling Federation. The ICF organized the first Junior World Championships in the same year, which turned into the Junior World Championships in 1988. Starting from 1989, four world championship tournaments were merged into two events: the World Curling Championships and the World Junior Curling Championships.
The ICF was recognized as the governing body of the curling world in 1982, independent from the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, and in 1991 changed its name to the World Curling Federation.
Wheelchair curling has become a Paralympic discipline in 2006 – a curling game adapted for people with disabilities in wheelchairs. It was included in the program of the Paralympic Games after the first edition of the World Team Championships was held in 2002. Wheelchair curling began to be played in Europe in the late 1990s, and has been practiced in North America since 2002. Games are played on the same rink (45.72 m x 5 m, no hooks), the stones are the same. The differences are that the stone is released from a stopped cart (which is usually held by another competitor in the back), the characteristic brushing is not used. The stones are released through a special stick (the so-called extender). It is finished with a movable cap, where the handle of the stone is inserted, it can be pushed and given the right rotation and direction. The stone must be in the specified square on the center line when released. Each team of 5 (with a substitute) must consist of players of both genders. Matches consist of 8 ends (until the 2007/2008 season it was 6 ends). The team has 68 minutes to play their stones. The first three tournaments were won by representatives of Canada, and in 2018 the Chinese triumphed. Canada won the bronze medal in Pyeongchang, making it the only country to have won a medal in all four Paralympic tournaments. Representatives of seven countries were on the Paralympic podium in curling counting from the games in Turin to the games in Pyeongchang. Wheelchair Curling Mixed Couples World Championships took place for the first time in 2022 – a team in this category is made up of a man and a woman. This discipline is also to be included in the program of the next Winter Paralympic Games.