“Dude, is this seriously an Olympic sport?”

Curling has gained the reputation (especially in the Olympics) of not being a sport. Many people who flip through the numerous channels broadcasting the Olympics are quick to poke fun at it without sitting through it and watching a match. I just get strange looks from people every time I tell them I can’t wait to watch the Sochi Olympics because the U.S. Men’s Curling team actually qualified this year. This is usually followed by a “Who the heck watches Curling? Thats so lame, man.” And I think this is what has intrigued me the most. Theres something about being apart of this subculture that actually gets it. We know it is constantly joked about, but at the same time we don’t care and can only hope it will eventually be accepted one day.

Stereotypes out there include people saying the sport is for “aging, retired folks.” At times, I can see that. It does look similar to Shuffleboard on ice. Also, surprisingly, I have yet to find any hard evidence of there being any gender stereotypes after doing some research. Others dismiss Curling because it does not require participants to be extremely physically fit to play. In fact, the Canadian Olympic Curling team made sure they were in the best shape possible for the 2010 Olympics to negate that stereotype. I feel that representation of this sport through the media plays a key role to how it is accepted in society. For example, the Norway Men’s Olympic Curling team decided to wear Argyle pants for their uniform at the last olympic games. As seen below, this just adds to the comical stereotype of the sport.

Team NorwayCulturally they may have felt that they were making the right choice.  The fashion choices of one country do not always represent those of another. But to the average viewer without an open mind, they just looked foolish out there.

Geographically, the sport seems to be most popular in countries with colder climates including Canada, Russia, Norway, and Sweden. I dare you to flip your television to ESPN right now and tell me if you see a Curling match. Now call up your buddy in Canada, eh, and have him flip the channel to TSN and you can bet there will be a match being aired on tv. As Americans, since we are not exposed to the sport on a daily basis, we can not become familiar with it. When the US men’s team was interviewed last Olympic games, they recalled having to hear wise cracks from fellow American athletes on the plane ride to Vancouver.  But to them, it was just another day on the ice. They just brush it off (pun intended) and keep doing what they love.

 

Ron Burgundy recently had the chance to do some commentary for the 2014 Canadian Olympic team qualifying matches this year.

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One Response to “Dude, is this seriously an Olympic sport?”

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    I just learned yesterday that some of my good friends from Wyoming are part of a local curling team. It appears to be catching on in the U.S.!

    I like how you pulled out the example of Argyle pants as somehow reinforcing the stereotype of curling. This is a great object for further examination and analysis. What is it about Argyle that makes it somehow not properly athletic? This is worth thinking about more. Perhaps consider doing an analysis of Argyle down the road for this project. Also, is there a way that the desired athleticism gets gendered in a particular way? Or racialized? It sounds as if it most definitely relates to body type and age. On a related note (ability), consider how using the word “lame” may actually reinforce the stereotypes of this sport and negative stereotypes about people with disabilities. Perhaps this is why you chose this example, and if so, it is worth calling out. Casually using the term “lame” can reinforce these negative stereotypes about people with disabilities, so when using it, it’s good to explain why it is a good nuanced example of a point you are making (as it could be in this case, with further explanation).

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