2009 World Mixed Doubles kick off Saturday in Italy

April 15, 2009, 6:37 p.m. (ET)
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Seattle's Brady and Cristin Clark will represent the U.S. at the 2009 World Mixed Doubles Championship, which kicks off Saturday at the Olympic Ice Stadium in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, a ski resort area in northeast Italy tucked in the Alps. The city also will play host to the 2010 World Men's Championship.

The Clarks won the U.S. Mixed Doubles Championship back in December to earn the right to be named Team USA. They'll compete against 26 other World Curling Federation member nations. The countries will be split into three pools for round robin play. The Clarks will compete against other two-person teams from Sweden, Norway, Hungary, China, Estonia, Denmark, Spain and Korea. The first round of play gets underway at 8 a.m. Sunday (local time, +8 hours EDT).

The Clarks most recently won their sixth U.S. mixed national title last month in Medford, Wis. No other athletes in U.S. history have won this many mixed titles. They represent the Granite Curling Club in Seattle. This is the first appearance at the world mixed doubles, which is in its second year. Last year's, USA's Nate and Jamie Haskell finished 15th. 

Results and standings from the competition can be found online athttp://www.curlingcortina.dolomiti.org/eng/Event/results.htm

Mixed doubles features two players per team as opposed to the traditional four-person curling teams. Each game consists of eight ends with variations from the regular game. Each team delivers five stones per end with one player delivering the first and fifth stones and the other team member throwing the stones in between. 

Prior to the start of each end, one team shall instruct the game umpire to place their team's stationary stone and the opposing team's stationary stone either as a guard outside the house bisecting the center line or on the back half of the button. The positioned stones cannot be removed until the fourth stone. Sweeping is allowed but with just two players that means either the thrower will sweep their own stone or the other team member will leave the house to sweep.