Norwegian quartet fashion pant-astic surprise
GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- Thomas Ulsrud, Torger Nergaard, Christoffer Svae and Haavard Vad Petersson may not be the world's best curlers but the Norwegian men's foursome are the sport's most recognisable and are front and centre again at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Spectators at the Gangneung Curling Centre may miss a shot but cannot miss the dashing Norwegians who continue to make outlandish fashion statements with their wild and colour trousers that have become their trademark since the 2010 Vancouver Games.
At those Olympics, at Svae's urging, the Norwegian rink purchased two pairs of red, white and blue harlequin-pattern pants made by LoudMouth Golf, the brand made famous by professional golfer John Daly and the rest is curling fashion history.
Today those diamond patterned slacks would be viewed as conservative alongside the outrageous designs the group has planned for these Games.
For the Pyeongchang Olympics the Norwegians will turn the ice into their own personal catwalk with a different pair of trousers for each draw which on some days will mean wardrobe changes.
For Valentines Day, the Norwegian foursome opted for pink pants with hearts but dialed it down for their draw on Friday morning against South Korea opting for a tame red, white and blue circle pattern.
As the foursome's fashion guru and coordinator, Svae does not let his teammates know what outfit he has chosen until they are about to take to the ice.
"We have a big suitcase," Svae told Reuters flashing a mischievous smile. "Now the idea is to show off as many pants as possible.
"The most games we can play here is 12 and we have a pair of pants for each game."
What started as lark has turned into a long-term sponsorship deal with LoudMouth Golf although Svae would not reveal any details, including whether the team had any input into design.
Almost overshadowed by the sartorial splendor is the fact that the Norwegians are very good curlers.
The team took silver at the Vancouver Olympics and were crowned world champions in 2014.
"A lot of time people think we have won even if we didn't so that's good," laughed Svae. "But it's brought attention to the sport and younger people get drawn to it.
"In Vancouver it was special because we had never done it before but after that now we play in every crazy patterned pants we can find so we don't really notice anymore."