By: Steve Retka
Now that the 2010 Winter Olympics have come to a close, we’re left with a lot of lasting images. We saw a game-winning goal in overtime from Team Canada for the gold medal in hockey, and figure-skater Joannie Rochette win the bronze while dealing with the death of her mother. But there was one image in particular that captivated many people throughout the games...the checkered pants worn by Norway’s men’s curling team.
But are pants even worth discussing? Well, considering a quick Google search of “Team Norway’s pants” garners nearly 1.5 million hits, it’s worth examining. Facebook even has a Fan Page dedicated to the pants. Even more surprising, the page has over 580,000 fans, and that number continues to grow.
These huge numbers show that these pants have not only become a cultural sensation, but that they have pushed the sport of curling into the spotlight. Curling, which in the past has had to endure both limited national attention and being the butt of many jokes, received a big media boost due to the pants.
To tell the truth, I myself had never watched a single curling match before these games, and was really only interested in seeing the pants which seemed to be dominating the headlines. But once I started watching, I actually became fascinated with it and watched all of the remaining curling matches. And while this is of course just one example, it does show the power of the media.
Team Norway’s Chris Svae, who picked out the pants himself, feels the pants have been an overwhelming success, saying “It's bringing attention to curling back home in Norway more than usual."
So while the pants may just be a gimmick, it’s proven effective in raising awareness of the often-overlooked event. It will be even more interesting to see how social media embraces events like these in future Olympics.