Norway’s men’s curling team’s secret weapon: a psychologist


Norway’s second Christoffer Svae delivers a stone during their men’s curling round robin game against Germany at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in the Ice Cube Curling Center in Sochi Wednesday. (Ints Kalnins / Reuters)

The Norwegian men’s curling team has more than one secret weapon this Winter Olympics. Besides their mind-blowing uniforms, the team also toted their mind-bending psychologist to the Games, according to a Norwegian news Web site. Christoffer Svae told the Norway’s NRK television the reason for the mental strategist: “It can happen that nerves come creeping into play when we get towards the end of a match.”

Considering the Norwegian men have swiftly bested all three of their opponents so far, one might assume their nerves are on autopilot.

The U.S. men, on the other hand, don’t have this luxury. “The U.S. curling team does not have a sports psychologist with us here in Sochi,” Terry Kolesar of USA Curling said in an e-mail from Sochi. But something must have changed in the past 24 hours because the American men managed their first win Wednesday against Denmark after back-to-back losses to Norway and China. Perhaps, honorary curling captain Vernon Davis (yes, that Vernon Davis), gave the team a “Friday Night Lights” style Coach Taylor pep talk. Clear eyes, furious sweeps, can’t lose.

Now, he just needs to do the same for the U.S. women’s curling team, which racked up its fourth loss Wednesday in as many games. The latest loss was to China, 7-4.

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Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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