Olympic curling fans show their spirit, funny hats in Sochi


Norway skip Thomas Ulsrud acknowledges the cheers of fan Rune Eikeland during a game against China on Friday. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP)

The chances of the Norwegian men’s curling team earning a medal in Sochi may be dicey, but their fans’ enthusiasm is still in full throttle. Or at least one man’s is. Rune Eikeland stood out from the crowd, sloshing around with his beer and singing Norwegian tunes during Friday’s game when his homeland faced China. China ultimately won 7-5.

The Norwegian men currently stand in fifth place, with three round-robin games left to boost themselves into one of the top four spots that would ensure a spot in the semifinals.

But whether they can win the next game or not, it’s safe to assume that Eikeland will continue to cheer on his countrymen in his funny hat. Because that’s what live curling audiences do.


Norwegian fan Rune Eikeland cheers for his country’s team during a game against China on Friday. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP)

Eikeland is not alone. Some fans of the Japanese teams were shown on NBC’s broadcasts sporting caps that gave them traditional hairdos made of plastic.

More on topic, Canada’s fans have been wearing replicas of curling stones on their heads, complete with the pun-tastic mantra, “Canada rocks.” And that’s a fact. The Canadian women’s team has been able to win all six of its games so far, and the men are tied for third with a 5-2 record.

Russian fans, however, still have a little bit to learn. Not in terms of spirit, but in terms of knowing when to really let that spirit loose. “They have no idea what the hell is going on,” said Cathal Kelly, a sports columnist for The Toronto star, who has noticed an exceptionally lively crowd at the events this Olympics.

“They cheered loudly when one of their curlers was sliding onto the ice to take his shot, which is the equivalent of cheering for a golfer while he’s teeing off,” Brian Costa wrote in The Wall Street Journal. Plus, most Russian audience members have been hatless. Give them four more years though, and I’m willing to bet they could rival Eikeland, except with vodka in hand instead of beer.

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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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