Thursday 13 February 2014

Joe and I went to cheer on Norway in the final of the European curling championship held here in Stavanger at the end of November.  Norway has been known for their curling couture long before People Magazine picked it up.

#WeAreWinter is Team Canada's slogan for Sochi 2014 and it seems fitting.  I love the Winter Olympics.  I love watching our nation come together to cheer on our athletes and I love seeing so many countries come together with a love of sport.  Even though these games in Russia have been controversial from the start, I can't help but be drawn in to the hoopla that is the Winter games.

As a Canadian, clearly I'm all for watching the Curling and Hockey but there really is nothing I won't watch.  In fact, there are plenty of sports I don't follow at all throughout the year yet find myself drawn to the TV to cheer on our Canadian delegates.  I can't help but tear up when I watch our flag raised and our anthem played when we've claimed a gold and even when we don't reach the podium, I'm proud of the sportsmanship my country has shown.

I'm not sure if Norway has an official Olympic slogan for these games but it should be #NorwayCanSki.  In the last year and half, it's become blatantly obvious how large of a roll skiing takes in Norwegian society.  In Oslo last February, Joe and I marvelled at the amount of people carting around skis in the city (perhaps not quite to the extent to bikes in Amsterdam but certainly up there.)  In Stavanger, we don't really get lasting snow so we don't see people cross country skiing however we do see people using road skis all year long.  They're essentially a ski with wheels allowing people to practice the sport on pavement.  All winter long, every weekend, skiing competitions grace our television and now that the Olympics are on, the ski atmosphere has only heightened.

Norway has won more Winter Olympic medals than any other nation in the world.  (This article takes an interesting look at that fact and perhaps some of the reasons behind it.)  Even as someone who pays particular attention to the Winter games, before moving here I really had no idea of their success.  When I looked a little closer at the medal table, it's obvious where their strengths lie and perhaps they continue to float under the radar of many nations who don't pay particular attention to skiing.  While the Canadians are busy watching hockey, Norway is dominating the cross country skiing scene.

In other winter sport, Norway is also well-known for its national curling team who is recognizable for two reasons: obviously, their style choices as their heavily patterned pants stick out amongst a sea of black.  Secondly, the skip, Thomas Ulsrud, is pretty handsome.  This year it seems that international media (outside of big curling nations) have picked up on this.

While my allegiances lie with Canada, I'm quite enjoying having two Olympic teams to cheer for this year.  It's also been interesting to watch another winter-centric country's take on the games.  Like home, athletes are gracing milk cartons and cereal boxes.  A large screen TV has been set up in our local shopping mall and Joe's noticed loud cheering in his office during the day, presumably when the cross country events are on.  Tonight, the two countries meet centre ice for Canada's first men's hockey game.  Norway isn't particularly well known for hockey but I'm enjoying a little friendly rivalry between my two homes.  My landlord had a chuckle when I answered the door today in my Team Canada jersey.


  1. It's great that you can cheer for two of the strongest countries in these games! Not sure if you have seen this, but if you really want to be proud of your country you should read this article.


  2. i loved this post :) while i admit i know very little about winter sports, it has become more fun for me watching now that im in norway where people actually care about these sports i didnt even know existed :)

    in 2010, i kind of watched the winter olympics because i helped create the programs for them and was nervous that someone was going to ask me questions about what was going on and id feel stupid not being able to answer :) but this time around, i watch because i live with a norwegian who will strangle me if i dont haha! just kidding, but its more fun to watch here than in the US. summer olympics in the US are a diff story of course.

    what i love most about the olympics is that it often brings out the best in the countries. if i say something pro-USA or how i love my country any other time, people slam me for being ethnocentric and say i feel that my country is better than others (gotta love anti-american garb). the olympics are the one time i can support my country without it coming across as 'ohhh im better than other people'. ;) its also fun because i dont just cheer on the US, i cheer on canada (i think a lot of americans do this), mexico (theyre our cousins too!), norway, and then randoms like the jamaican bobsled team (thanks disney), and the random countries that have one athlete there :) its the couple of weeks in the year that everything else seems petty and frivolous. and that is why i love the olympics so much, even if i dont know too much about them or just discovered there is a sport called 'skeleton'?!

    i will admit, while i cheer on norway in all this cross country skiing, the commentators are the most exciting thing about the sport LOL. i just struggle watching the sport itself!

    good luck to yall in the hockey game tonight! i have a feeling my heart will cheer for canada and not norway since ive always cheered canada on in the past and norway is kind of a new thing :) haha

  3. I love this post ! I always love the moments when I read about or see someone enjoying winter sports as much as I do. I grew up in a Winter Olympic Village, so I get pretty enthusiastic every winter when the World Cup Circuits roll around or an NHL team drops by my area for pre season practice. Some of my favorite childhood memories center on watching Canadian or American hockey teams facing off against Soviets teams when I was still in grade school. I still love a good West versus Soviet/now Russia game and it looks like we might get such a game as early in as the quarter finals in Sochi.
    Have you tried the roller skis given that they are so popular in your area ? I have a pair that I use in the summer and occasionally in the winter (on a treadmill) and they provide a really good work out.

  4. I'm just not worked up about the winter Olympics! I feel like something is wrong with me because everyone's so excited about all of it, but... I just want to watch Miracle. That's the extent of my winter Olympics enthusiasm.

    That being said, every time I hear about the Canadians doing well I think YAY JAY YOU GO! haha


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