Nightly News   |  February 27, 2010

Island’s granite helps keep curling alive

NBC’s Jim Maceda probes the mysterious origins of the sport and its unique equipment.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back in vancouver, where among the champions yet to be decided, the gold medallists in curling. a sport that dates back to medieval scotland . jim maceda takes us back to where it all began.

>> reporter: you need to voyage back in time to a fairy land or elsa craig as it's called in scotland. there's treasure within the tiny island that looks more like alcatraz.

>> it's the hardest rock you can get, when the two stones bind together it's very durable.

>> reporter: and elsa craig 's granite is the strongest. in the land where curling was born some 800 years ago, scottish quarry men harvested the granite for generations.

>> virtually everyone in the family regarded it as something that we were born to do.

>> reporter: since 1851 , first by hand, then by machine, and today with advanced electronics, each 44-poundstone, made so perfectly it became the official olympic choice in 1998 in nagano, japan when curling was named an olympic event.

>> i think my forefathers would be happy we've managed to keep the sport alive.

>> reporter: the quarry on elsa craig closed decades ago, but jim 's family still sails here every few years, hauling off hundreds of tons. this is some of the granite left behind, after the vancouver games, this boulders will be turned into curling stones for the 2014 games and beyond. from an island called ferry rock in the home of curling's holy grail . jim maceda, nbc news, elsa craig , scotland.

>> that's nbc nightly news for