SOCHI, Russia – Whether their wacky pants are on or off, Norway's men's curling team can't stop causing a stir.
The hippest team at the Sochi Olympics was pictured in one of their country's national newspapers posing — in the middle of the day and in the middle of the Olympic Park — with no pants on.
All the four curlers had on below the waist was a pair of boxer shorts, socks and trainers.
They were asked to pull the stunt to highlight a directive, laid down by the Norwegian Olympic Committee, which prevents the team from wearing its competition clothing outside the curling arena. When they aren't curling, they have to wear attire sponsored by the Norway team's official clothing supplier, Phenix.
One of the curlers, Thomas Ulsrud, says it was not a protest, just "a bit of fun."
"A Norwegian newspaper wanted to take a picture of the four of us guys (in their pants) away from the curling," he says. "We said we have some rules in the Olympics, so we aren't allowed to do that. So they asked could they have a picture without pants.
"I said 'Sure, I have great legs.'"
Ulsrud and teammates Christoffer Svae, Torger Nergaard and Haavard Vad Petersson have raised the profile of curling immensely — and achieved celebrity status in the process — ever since the Vancouver Games in 2010, when they decided to ditch their traditional black pants and wear goofy-looking diamond-printed golf pants in their nation's colors.
In Sochi, they have added to their curling wardrobe by donning flat caps, soccer socks and knickerbockers.
But remember guys: only IN the arena.
— By Steve Douglas — Twitter https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu