Norway’s playful men’s curling team lost its coveted gold medal to Canada on Saturday, but skip Thomas Ulsrud tried to keep smiling. He said all along that his team mostly wanted to have fun in Vancouver, and their clown-like trousers were the hit of the Olympics. Their game was good, too, but not as good as the Canadians’.
In the end, they lost 6-3 to Canada after making it into the finals. The Canadians took an early 2-0 lead and seemed to have command throughout the match, aided by enthusiastic Canadian fans who formed a sea of red in the stadium. It was a daunting situation for the Norwegians.
They held up well, though, and all claimed they were happy with a silver medal, the eighth silver for Norway in the Winter Olympics and the 22nd overall.
While the curling men from Snarøya, just west of Oslo, aimed to enjoy their Olympic experience in Vancouver, they’re all serious about their sport. Ulsrud told newspaper Aftenposten that he made a commitment to curling in 2007 after merely playing with teammate Torger Nergård for nearly 20 years. “We decided to do things properly, got the young guys on board, started to exercise more and became four dedicated guys. It helped.”
Ulsrud has stressed that the curling team is among the last of the real amateurs at the Olympics. All have normal full-time jobs alongside their curling activity.
Their checkered trousers were bought on impulse and have attracted international fame. Now Ulsrud says his wife told him he needs to watch his behaviour when he comes home to Norway. “She said we’ve become more well-known now, and have to be careful.”
They clearly have won themselves fans, in addition to the hundreds of thousands around the world who became their Facebook fans.
“These guys have shown that sports isn’t only about money,” one fan, Marit Leknes of Krokstadelva, told Aftenposten. “It’s great that they’ve done so well.”