HALIFAX - Live television. Mic'ed up curlers. High-intensity games.
They can combine to provide excellent fodder for curling broadcasts. And with that comes the chance some profanity might make it to air.
It can often be a real challenge for curlers to keep the language in check when tension is high at a major competition. Some players have to bite their tongues from time to time.
It's not an easy task when their first instinct is to let a swear word rip after a missed shot or error on the ice.
"I'm sure I've let one slip, I think everybody has," said Canada lead Nolan Thiessen. "Sometimes it's a really important shot and you didn't throw it good or the rock picked or something and it just kind of slips out."
Curlers competing at top events like this week's Ford world men's curling championship know that they're playing in a live-to-air setting. A microphone pack is clipped to their belt before each game so their comments can be used on the broadcast.
When a curse word is uttered, it can often be missed. Networks often feature action from all four sheets and there are eight curlers participating in each game.
Swearing does make it to air on occasion and in some cases, players are fined for it. Fines are usually a few hundred bucks and go to charity.
"It is rare, fortunately," said Curling Canada's Al Cameron. "That's a credit to the players involved for knowing that there is a live TV audience. Obviously it happens. Who among us (doesn't swear)? It's dealt with as it comes in. But fortunately it's something that we really don't have to go to that often."
In-game microphone use dates back over 30 years. It gives curling a unique edge on other sport broadcasts.
Veteran Nova Scotia skip Mary-Anne Arsenault recalled a game from years ago in Sudbury, Ont., when frost buildup affected her team's final throw with the game on the line.
"I turned to the girls and I said, 'It was F-in frosty!' But I said the actual F-word and my mic was on," she recalled.
Players weren't fined back then but Arsenault was given a warning about her language.
"My dad said, 'It was a well-deserved F-bomb,'" Arsenault said. "And my mom said, 'I hope your grandmother wasn't watching.'"
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