Crazy pants return

The Norwegian curlers bring their world-famous pants back to the Winter Olympics

Norwegian Olympic apparel

Photo: Team Ulsrud / Facebook
Curling pants, then and now. The 2018 curling team shows off one of this year’s 12 sets of fancy pants.

Jo Christian Weldingh

When the official Norwegian Olympic apparel was presented in New York on Jan. 23, it was revealed that the colorful Norwegian curling pants will be making a comeback in Pyeongchang in February. Skip Thomas Ulsrud and the rest of the Norwegian curling team will be sporting 12 different attires, one for each game.

The Norwegian curling pants made their surprising debut in Vancouver 2010 and immediately caught the eyes of Olympic viewers all over the world. In the 600-year-old sport of curling, the breach of dress code actually caused some minor controversy. “Curling is similar to golf in that way, very bound to tradition,” said Christoffer Svae, Norwegian curler and fashionista mastermind. “When we started playing with colorful pants, people were shaking their heads.”

Curling pants

Photo: Emily C. Skaftun
One pair of the original sensations hangs in the Norwegian Olympic Museum inside Lillehammer’s Maihaugen.

The pants gave the Norwegian team a lot of extra attention and more than half a million new followers on Facebook.

The fashion stunt in Vancouver came as a result of Svae’s sudden whim when shopping for golf apparel. In Sochi 2014, however, the Norwegians had acquired a sponsorship deal with clothing brand Loudmouth. In their first venture outside the world of golf, Loudmouth designed pants in red, white and blue, with matching jackets, knickers, and socks.

Heading into the Pyeongchang Olympics, the Norwegian curlers’ fashion sense is once again ready to be in the headlines of the international press. Loudmouth has provided 12 unique uniforms, one for each group stage and potential playoff game.

The golf brand is obviously aware of the huge marketing potential within the Olympic Games and has also agreed to cover all the other expenses the curling team might have, an agreement that’s sorely needed for the Norwegian amateurs.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Thomas Svae said. “All the attention makes it easier to get sponsors back home too. Everyone wants to be identified with us and our pants.”

“Even though some might have looked down their noses at us, at first, I think most curling players are eager to promote their sport in every way possible,” he continued.

Along with Svae and Ulsrud, Torger Nergård and Håvard Vad Pettersson will be defending Norway’s honor and fashion sense in Pyeongchang.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 9, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.