Fashion statements made at world curling championship
From long hair to crazy pants, players have it covered
At times, it looks more like an oddball fashion show than a curling tournament.
Start with the Finnish players competing at the world men's championship in Halifax. Some say they look like a black-metal band more than a curling team. Two of them have long, flowing locks, and some sport interesting facial hair.
"Someone on Twitter called us Finnish wild boys, so I'll go with that," says second Pauli Jaamies.
Jaamies is the most striking. Fifteen years after he started growing them, his dreadlocks drape down from his head past his waist. But the MTV media sales rep (when he's not curling) says he doesn't like reggae or rock music. He just likes the style.
"All the other teams are like pretty boys," says Jaamies. "We stand out a bit but we don't mind."
Jaamies started his curling career shortly after he started growing his hair out. It was after seeing the 2006 Olympics in Italy, where Finland won the silver medal, that he really became intrigued by the game. Now he's in Halifax on the world's biggest curling stage, and has adjusted to sliding, sweeping and curling with all that hair.
"It keeps me balanced and it keeps me level," he says.
The man behind the pants
Norway second Christopher Svae likes to wear colourful clothes. He's the one behind his team's trademark eye-catching pants, which go back to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The Norwegians were preparing for the Games when a miscommunication left them with less-than-desirable uniforms.
Svae took charge and ordered the first wave of flashy pants that have now become the team's signature look.
"We were going to practice with them but never play in them," says Svae. "But the last day of practice before the Olympics we were talking to some other Norwegian athletes from snowboarding and they said we should wear them."
The rest is history. Svae says it was easy to convince his teammates to wear the pants. The toughest sell was the Norway coach.
"He said if you start playing bad you'll be slaughtered in the media," says Svae.
Not a problem. Norway won a silver medal in their fancy-pants debut in Vancouver, and they're now the defending world champions.
"Without bragging or anything, I think we're the most well-known team in the world," Svae says. "Not because of our performances, but what we wear. I know there are a lot of Canadian teams that are more well known over here, but worldwide, people recognize our pants."
Svae says the team brought at least seven or eight pairs to this year's tournament. But it's not only on the ice where the pants get noticed. Sometimes, he says, they'll land him a free drink.
"We wear them to the Patch and bars here," says Svae. "You can stand there and count down from five and someone will come talk to you."