SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Norway and China remained unbeaten and the U.S. finally picked up a win Wednesday in men's curling at the Sochi OIympics.
Wearing flat caps, knee-length knickers and dark blue soccer socks, the stylish Norwegians beat Germany 8-5 for a third consecutive victory.
"It was knickerbockers vs. lederhosen today," Norway curler Christoffer Svae said. "And the knickerbockers won."
China defeated Switzerland 5-4 for its third win without a loss. Sweden, also 3-0, had a bye in the morning session at the Ice Cube Curling Center.
The U.S. men and women were a combined 0-5 after two days' play, but John Shuster's team ended the losing streak by beating Denmark 9-5, with five of its points coming from steals.
"Getting a win was huge both for our team and for the state of curling as far as our country goes," Shuster said.
Shuster said the arrival of his wife Sarah and 9-month-old son Luke in Sochi on Tuesday sparked an improvement in his performance, after disappointing losses to Norway and China.
"I got a text message from my wife last night that helped me get in a much better mindset," he said. "She just told me to remember to enjoy this and be a curler, because you are out here doing something that you have fun doing.
"It really changed my complete being."
There are four games in the evening session, including Canada vs. Russia and Denmark vs. Sweden. The Canadians (1-2) have made an underwhelming start to the defense of their title.
Norway caused a stir in the Vancouver Games in 2010 by donning diamond-printed pants for their matches instead of the usual black curling trousers that most teams wear.
In Sochi, the Norwegians have gone a step further and unleashed their new, bold range of clothing on the Germans.
The cap — known as a sixpence — is Norwegian-patterned with different colors and different shapes. The socks are exactly the same type worn by Norway's soccer players. The pattern on the knickers was sharp red-and-blue teeth.
Norway, the 2010 silver medalist, has now beaten the U.S., Russia and Germany — "probably the three weakest teams of the tournament," according to Svae.
"We play Sweden tomorrow," he added. "We'll get a first real test."
The U.S. slipped behind 3-0 after the first end but responded with a deuce and then stole points in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th ends, keeping the Danes scoreless until the 9th.
"Hopefully this turns the tables," Shuster said, "and we can get it rolling in the other direction."