Well, what japes yesterday, eh, Pip! Two great sporting moments, two very different responses.  Of his team’s surprise defeat to Team GB in the men’s curling, Norwegian skipper Thomas Ulsrod commented “We were definitely robbed, and we put it down to their trousers.  We couldn’t believe it when we saw them, we thought it was some kind of joke.  No-one in Norway wears black or navy during the winter because of our long dark nights, it’s just too depressing.  And they didn’t even have the decency to pick a nice bright navy like indigo or ultramarine, no, they’d gone for Space Cadet, which everyone knows shouldn’t even be worn outside the southern hemisphere between September and March.  It was just so culturally insensitive.”

(The Chinese instantly change their order, to two dozen pairs of curling trousers in blackest velvet embroidered across the backsides with “Lasciate ogni speranze, voi ch’entrate.”)

Ulsrod went on “The trousers were bad enough, but when they picked up the yellow curling stones, that was it.  It was like wasps.  Enormous, mutant wasps in Team GB polo shirts!  Huge, Morlockian wasps, sent from the pit of darkness to herald Ragnarok and the end of the world! We just had no chance after that.”

By contrast Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Manchester Thing, was dignified in defeat.  “It was a great, sporting match. Barcelona were always the better side and it was the right result on the day.  Some people have said the referee was biased, but I don’t see it myself, for me he was entirely professional right down the line.  As for these comments that Demichelis was outside the area when he fouled Messi, who cares?  Fouling is a disgusting unprofessional habit and I won’t have it in my team.  If the referee hadn’t sent him off, I would have done it myself.”

No! Joking!  Of course he didn’t say that.  He whinged like a whingey thing and said that he didn’t think Swedes should be allowed to referee matches between “important teams”.  Uh, Manuel, you do know the difference between Sweden and Manchester City, don’t you?  Manchester City is a foot-ball team, which is essentially a smallish organisation of people who get together to play a particular sport.  Sweden, on the other hand, is a coun-try, which means an agglomeration of people defined by a national boundary of social, political and economic significance, often possessed of such important entities as a government, a legal system, an army, a seat on the UN…..oh, forget it.  Yeah, sure we’ll ban the Swedes.  Who cares if you’ve been watching too many clips of the Swedish chef off the Muppets?  Whatever you say.   

Ulsrod, on the other hand, congratulated his opponents, particularly British skipper David Murdoch (the housewife’s choice!), whose brilliant final stone to steal the match he described as the “shot of the tournament”, and expressed sportsmanlike disappointment before going off to have a couple of aquavits and to see if the Swedes wanted to borrow his lucky trousers.  Where’s the fun in that, eh?

Finally, do keep an eye open today for the Mixed Relay Biathlon.  Yes, mixed as in gender, men and women in the same team.  It’s a new Olympic sport this year, and an idea I’d love to see transferred to the summer Olympics.  Maybe we could finish every Olympics with a mixed 4 by 100 metre relay, men and women competing together for a final team gold.  How cool would THAT be?