Curling evokes the image of out-of-shape athletes drinking beer while heaving a stone down the ice. Beer bellies? Check. Sweaters and polo shirts that highlight those beer bellies? Check and check.
The Canadian curling team didn't like that image, and has done everything they can to change it. First stop, the uniforms. Gone are the polos and sweaters. They've been replaced by stylish, body-hugging shirts and jackets that were modeled after soccer and Formula One togs.
Those are pretty sweet, and available for purchase here, if you'd like to make yourself as fashionable as a Canadian Olympic curler.
Next, the curlers had to take a hard look at themselves. The sport had stereotypes of rotund athletes. These days, throw that idea out the window.
In the run-up to curling as a demonstration sport in the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, the Canadian Curling Association held a selection camp at which a number of prominent players - Ed Werenich being the most notable - were told to lose weight if they wanted to be considered for the team. The story was so believable and humorous, it made the front page of many newspapers. But all that's in the past now. These days, the curlers may not be ready to rival a cross-country skier for stamina or bobsledder for muscles, but they are certainly in top shape.
Curlers are even touting their sport as a great way to get in shape. John Morris, a member of the Canadian curling team expected to win gold in Vancouver, recently penned the book, "Fit to Curl," focused on curling-specific fitness.
So when you see that svelte, sexy Olympian walking through the Olympic Village or being interviewed on television, don't assume it's a cross country skier or a bobsledder. It may just be a curler.