Curlers and Olympians descend on Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Curlers and Olympians descend on Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Curlers from all across the country are taking the ice in Cedar Rapids this weekend.  The Cedar Rapids Curling Club is hosting its 4th annual curling tournament, CedarSpiel, bringing light to the sport in the city.

"We have people coming in from South Carolina to as far as Bismark, North Dakota," curling club member, Kari Kozek, said. "...It lets them know that Cedar Rapids curling is here. We're right here in the middle of the country."

All teams competed Friday night, but the competition will continue into Sunday.  However, it's more friendly than it is competitive.

"This weekend is all about a chance to curl in the summer. A lot of clubs are not open in August. This is their chance to come down and get some practice in, and get ready and really to socialize," Kozek said.

Four-time United States Olympian and World Champion, Debbie McCormick, was on site not only to compete, but to teach people how to curl to help the sport grow.

"When I curled in high school, people didn't really know what curling was, and I got made fun of and teased about it.  And now it's in the Olympics," McCormick said.

McCormick said it's exciting to see how much the sport has grown, and that 20 years ago she would have never thought curling would be happening in Cedar Rapids.

The 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea is coming up quickly and the curling trials begin in November. Though McCormick won't be competing for a spot in this Olympics, she said there's no need to worry about the rising tensions between the United States and South Korea's neighbor, North Korea.

"I feel like every Olympics, there's something, right? Like 2002 was a big thing because of the Twin Towers going down. There's always something, but athletes compete because they love it and they want to represent their country. They'll be fine. I feel like the United States is going to keep them safe," she said.

CedarSpiel continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. The championship is set for Sunday morning. Spectating is free and encouraged.

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