SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Curlers, bobsledders, biathletes: They toil in obscurity for most of their athletic existence. Once every four years, they step out of the shadows at the Winter Olympics and try to make the most of the precious little time they have in the sun.
It's all about seizing that one moment, about capturing the world's attention by any means necessary. As the Sochi Games enter their first full week of competition, the athletes are ramping up their efforts to capitalize on the exposure that so rarely comes their way.
The Norwegian curling team has taken to wearing extravagant, pajama-style pants in competition and in practice to try to intrigue the casual fan. American bobsledder Johnny Quinn, a native of McKinney, Texas, is re-enacting his now famous bathroom door busting for national news shows and Russian Alexey Sobolev has done everything from get a likeness of the controversial band Pussy Riot on his snowboard to scrawling his cellphone number on his helmet during competition.
As far as the World Curling Federation is concerned, Norway's little stunt is working. They debuted crazy fashion in Vancouver in 2010 and have ratcheted up the sartorial silliness in Sochi with rose-painted knickers and flannel caps.
Press officer Joanna Kelly says the Norwegians "have singlehandedly done a spectacular job of promoting curling, for which the World Curling Federation is immensely grateful because it brought publicity that no PR campaign could have brought."
— By Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Associated Press reporters will be 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