Curlers grin, bare it

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

Now that's a skins game.

Curling is adding some sex to its sliders, getting extra exposure -- literally -- from a dozen female curlers, including one from Ottawa.

They have posed for various nude and barely-clothed photos for a calendar that will go a long way toward dispelling the myth that the Roarin' Game is a sport played by old men wearing ugly sweaters.

"I've taken a whole whack of orders already," said George Karrys, editor of The Curling News, which is distributing the calendar in Canada through its website.

The idea for the project came from photographer Ana Arce, the reigning Spanish women's curling championship skip, who recruited fellow competitive players to pose.

EAGER MODELS

"At first, I thought it was going to be difficult to find models, but I was surprised how eager everybody was about this," she said during a phone interview from her home near Barcelona. "My friends in curling think it's a wonderful idea because it is going to do something to promote our sport."

The models include former Ottawa resident Melanie Robillard, who posed at her home in Brussels.

"Melanie was very excited about this," said Arce, who also appears in the calendar. "She is a very beautiful young woman and she turned into a very good model.

"The biggest problem we had was choosing a photo from all the shots because there were so many great ones."

Robillard played lead on Jenn Hanna's Ontario junior championship team five years ago.

"Melanie's quite a character," said Hanna, the reigning Ontario women's champ and national Scott finalist.

"She's a great friend of ours and we really miss curling with her. We enjoyed playing with her when she was still in Canada because she's a terrific player and has a wonderful personality."

Arce met Robillard at a junior curling clinic in Germany, where they taught young players how to play.

Robillard is one of two Canadians in the calendar.

The other is Lynsay Ryan, daughter of two-time world curling champ Pat Ryan, who Arce also met at the curling clinic in Germany.

One of the models -- Austrian skip Claudia Toth -- once turned down an offer to pose for the German edition of Playboy.

'LOVED IDEA'

"I loved the whole idea behind it," said Toth of the calendar.

"It seems like one of the very few possibilities to make curling more popular in Europe -- especially Austria."

And Canada.

Arce said yesterday she had received many calls from media outlets in the Great White North about the project.

Proceeds will be divided among the teams of the models.

The calendar, titled the Ana Arce Team Sponsorship Calendar 2006, is available in Canada for $25 at The Curling News' website: www.thecurlingnews.com.


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