It’s definitely all about the shirts today over at the Ice Cube where the curling has been taking place. I have been doing some extensive research and I can report as follows:

The Chinese are no competition. They have nasty yellow zip-up anoraks and unflattering red gilets. No chance. (Another Chinese curling team, by the way?  Must have been all those Scotsmen who emigrated to SouthEast Asia in the 18th century.)

Canada, on the other hand, have top shirts.  They are particoloured, with a big red maple leaf on a white background on one side and a white leaf on a red background on the other, the leaves positioned at bicep or cuff to resemble military braiding. They come in different colours with long and short sleeves. These are shirts which mean business.

I also like the Canadians because their skip looks like Sergeant Stan Jablonski off Hill Street Blues. He is apparently “controversial”, in part because he can walk a few steps so may not be “disabled enough”, a phrase which makes me want to gak. He has also been suspected of taking a banned substance (hmmm) and has a son who has been caught selling fake erectile dysfunction drugs.

This last gave me pause. Surely anyone with half a brain knows that no parent can really control their child past a certain age?  One may imagine the phone call:
– Hi, Dad!
– Hey, son! How’s it going?
– Great! I’ve got a job!
– That’s wonderful! What is it?
– I’m selling fake Viagra. I get to keep 10% of any profit I make. They say I can earn up to $000’s a week!
Er, right. Son, are you sure you should be doing this? You know, what with it being illegal and all.
– Oh, that is so TYPICAL! You go on at me to get a job and now I have and all you can  do is CRITICISE me!! I don’t know why I even TELL you!!!!
And so forth.
(While we are on the subject, just how do they test erectile dysfunction drugs to see if they’re fake?  Yeah, I know, they do it in a laboratory. Spoilsport.)

As befits the host nation, the Russians also have top tops, white old-skool tracksuits with a fancy red band across the shoulders and arms and RU in big red letters on the front.  These letters are the kicker, the secret weapon, since they are formed not of normal typography but of mythical animals, a winged horse for the R and a phoenix for the U. They look great from a distance and even better close-up.  The Russians also have the advantage of their home crowd, who are yelling the ears off anyone else in the Ice Cube. Definitely a team to watch.

Finally, the Norwegians. At some point an unsung genius in the Norwegian design department took a look at an athlete in a wheelchair and designed him some red trousers with a broad white stripe down the inside leg and across the knees. When sitting down, the trousers form the Norwegian flag. Every other team competing with the Norwegians will think “Damn, those are spiffy trousers. They must be good ”  (I am not making this up, by the way. The British cycling team keep new bits of kit under wraps until major tournaments because it psychs out the opposition). Yep, the Norwegians definitely have winning trousers.

This almost has me kicking myself. We have the best flag in the world, why didn’t we think of this?  For anyone from the British Paralympic Paralympic Association who is reading this, it’s not too late. You could still get big Jim Gault a pair of Union Jack sunglasses. Go on! You know it makes sense.