World Curling Injury Report

Name: Ulsrud Bjork
Position: Skip, Norway
Injury: Slipped on the hack and twisted his ankle. Strained right rotator cuff after throwing a beer bottle at his friend for laughing at his “so-called curling injury.”
Game Status: Uncertain (depends on supply of borrowed Vicodin)

Name: Stewart Ainsley
Position: Vice, Scotland
Injury: Anti-slider slid off foot; massive groin strain.
Game Status: Doubtful

Name: Borislav Todor
Position: Second, Bulgaria
Injury: Sheepskin chafing
Game Status: Probable

Name: Wally McDermond
Position: Second, England
Injury: Drinking injury
Game Status: Detox

Name: Fogdal Kierkegaard
Position: Lead, Denmark
Injury: A back to back bonspiel and funspiel proved too much for the saturnine Dane, who began treatment for clinical depression.
Game Status: Gametime decision (malaise)

Name: Graham Bemidji
Position: Vice, USA
Injury: Unspecified hog line injury
Game Status: Out

Name: Donald Pattermann
Position: Skip, Canada
Injury: Attempted a “Manitoba tuck.” Surgery will attempt to repair bulging disk.
Game Status: Out

Name: Peteris Finks
Position: Second, Latvia
Injury: Viņa akmens wa s izmet ar konkrētu pagrieziena, bet tas galu galā apstājās un sāka griezt pretējā virzienā. Lai gan tas parasti ir rezultāts izvēlēties vai sliktu ledus apstākļos, tas kaut kā izraisīja nenoteiktu rokas traumu.
Game Status: In translation

The Power of the Pants

In a post-Olympic praise-and-blame column for Yahoo sports, Dan Wetzel mostly got it right, calling curling a winner:

What other sport could offer this sentence: The Danish women’s skip, who is a part-time topless model, broke into tears because the Canadian crowd was too rowdy.

This isn’t your father’s curling anymore. The sport received wall-to-wall television coverage in Canada, the United States and China, the latter a rising power. Long mocked as shuffleboard on ice, curling suddenly was cool. It’s the unlikely breakout sport of the Olympics.

He also gave rightful props to Petra Majdic, the Slovenian cross-country skier who crashed during a training run, falling off an embankment and into a small creek. Despite being injured, she went on to compete and win a bronze medal–despite having four broken limbs, and a collapsed lung.

However, Wetzel said fashion was a loser:

The Norwegian men curled in checkered pants. The American snowboarders had baggy jeans — where is General Larry Platt when you need him? In men’s figure skating there was a skeleton costume, a sailor and a farmer. Johnny Weir ported “male cleavage.” The hot items on the street were silly red mittens with a white maple leaf on the palm. Somehow they tricked Wayne Gretzky into wearing them.

True enough I suppose, but Wetzel overlooks the fact that the Norwegians and their pants won silver medals in men’s curling. Of course, FPI was onto this story from the get-go, noting the intangible advantage such pantwear gave them, not to mention the Facebook fan page.

The trousers that swept all the way to the finals

True, they lost in the finals, but they lost to Kevin Martin’s Canadian team, the favorites (Martin: four-time Brier champion,  three Olympic games, former World Champion and has won eleven Grand Slam titles on the World Curling Tour).

Then other news comes out of Canada, that the silk necktie worn by coach Mike Babcock when the Canadian men’s hockey team defeated the U.S. in overtime is now sold out.

Mike Babcock, sporting his 'lucky' McGill tie. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Despite playing on home ice, the Canadians squeaked by Slovakia and the U.S. to win … clearly, his sartorial lucky charm was effective. (And yes, Virginia, it too has its own Facebook fan page. But with only 1,500 fans.)

So, I dunno. Maybe Wetzel’s right that Johnny Weir shouldn’t have sported pink fringe or cleavage…. but in my mind, there’s no denying the power of the McGill tie–or the Norwegian pants.

Americans’ Slacks: Down in the Trousers

While millions are transfixed on men in tassels, sequins and hair gel sliding on the ice, there’s another competition going on at the Winter Olympics–curling.

Yet the parallels between curling, figure skating and dubious sartorial choices cannot be denied. Case in point: the Norwegians sported a dynamic pair of pants earlier this week. (Your far-flung correspondent did not fail to notice this. Or post pics.)

The pants made the papers. The pants got their own Facebook fan page. The page has almost 100,000 fans (I joined–but I didn’t inhale). The pants have great Facebook updates, in the third person, such as this earlier one, “Almost 83,000 fans! The pants are humbled by your support,” and this one from mid-match: “Norway and the pants up 3-2 after 5. Very exciting match!”

As exciting as the pants are, the US curled off against Denmark today. A very exciting match as well, that actually went to extra frames.

But before we get to the action, what were they wearing? The Americans were in stolid white shirts and black slacks. Very stolid. Sober. Proper. And Boring. They looked every bit the soporific golfer.

Ah, but the Danes! Red shorts, black pants … and white belts.You know, kinda hip! Oh, and the skip? He had on a silver belt buckle that would have made the Pendleton Round-Up proud.

Danish curler Lars Vilandt showing off that winning fashion edge.

The Americans and Danes went back and forth … no one ahead by more than one point … tied at the end of 10 … and … the Danes won in an extra frame.

Why? I think you know why. Oh, and did I mention that the Americans are now 0 and 4? Three of those matches they’ve lost by a single point. Rock. Whatever you call it. But still, losing by a belt buckle.

Back to the Norwegians. They wore a different pair of pants today:

Even the volunteer can't stop staring at those pants.

But how did they do?

They won 7-4, making them 3 and 1 in the prelims.

So if I were the Americans, I’d be looking for something–anything–to help my competitive edge.

Here’s what to do: Give the dull threads to Goodwill, and go shopping with something with some verve. One more suggestion? I know this guy who did quite well with miracle trousers. And cravats.

So Ugly They’re Beautiful

I was having a discussion about curling with someone on Twitter a while back. She was saying she didn’t get it, was playing devil’s advocate, etc. Needless to say, I defended the game, despite mentioning that is is possible, if you wanted to, to wear a cardigan and smoke while playing.

I even found a vintage curling photo to bolster my case:

But no sooner had I leapt to the defense of rock on ice, than I run across a photo of the Norwegian curling team, and their pants (warning: graphic images):

Bill Graveland/Canadian Press

There must be something in the ice this week, because the best links floating my way on Twitter today were all about teh ugglez. Consider, if you will, this inspired photo essay from England’s Telegraph: “Psychedelic patterned carpets in Las Vegas casinos designed to keep gamblers awake.” A sample:

But then — but then! — a sport comes along that has worse clothes, and comes close to Las Vegas carpets in its sartorial ickitude. What sport? Why, figure skating. Who says? Why, Time Magazine, who trotted out “The Top 10 Worst Figure Skating Costumes

For example:

In light of these, I’m thinking the Norwegians don’t look all that bad.