Olympic curlers honored with medals 82 years late

Days before the Turin Olympics curling competition gets underway, the British team that won at the inaugural Winter Games more than 80 years ago has finally been recognized as gold medalists.

The IOC announced that the curling competition in the 1924 event in Chamonix, France, was an official event and not a demonstration sport as had been widely believed.

The issue was raised by a Scottish newspaper, the Herald, based on records found at the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.

The team of Scotsmen  father and son Willie and Laurence Jackson, Robin Welsh and Tom Murray  won the gold by defeating Sweden 38-7 and France 46-4 in outdoor matches over 18 ends, compared with 10 in the modern Olympics.

Curling was a demonstration sport in another five Olympics before it became a full event in 1998. However the IOC has declared that all sports in the first Olympics were full sports.

The decision makes the curling team the first ever British Winter Olympics gold medalists, and Britain's first curling medalists by 78 years the women's team won gold in Salt Lake City in 2002.

"We have always been aware that our sport had a great history and we knew there had been curling in 1924," said Roy Sinclair, the Scottish president of the World Curling Federation.

"I only know the whereabouts of one of the medals. It was kept for many years by Welsh's sun, who died two weeks ago. Now it has passed to his grandson."

The Turin Olympics open Friday and curling competition starts Monday, reports AP.

O.Ch.