Strange days

GEORGE KARRYS, For QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- One half of Olympic curling week is over and there is no shortage of news, views and abuse.

In the jam-packed Olympic venue, the old story is the overwhelming crowd noise that has thrilled, and flustered, many a competitor. The new story is VANOC's pleas for spectators to refrain from making noise during the athletes' curling slide delivery.

This would presumably include the outrageous, and remarkable, ear-splitting rendition of O Canada delivered well before the final stone was thrown Saturday night.

On the ice, there is much to take note of.

On the women's side:

Defending champion Sweden is back; unheralded Canada is plenty strong; Switzerland wuz robbed (literally: The skip had her shoes stolen in Winnipeg before the Games, and any curler will tell you it's all about the shoes); Great Britain is struggling; Japan is all over the place; China is still quite good; the U.S. is a disappointment; Germany is hopeless and Russia is a disaster, to the point that changes must be made now with the 2014 Sochi Games on the horizon.

On the men's side:

Canada is a well-oiled machine; Sweden is fun to watch; France is a gutsy bunch; Denmark just doesn't have it; China and Germany are overmatched; Great Britain has its back to the wall (which should bring out the best in them) and the U.S. is a disappointment.

The live coverage is super. CTVOlympics.ca is hosting webstreamed games (live or on demand) that are superior in quality to many TV productions. The high-definition pictures on the NBC channels are magnificent; the reunited ex-CBC commentary duo of Don Duguid and Colleen Jones is a hilarious flashback. APTV's Al Hackner and Arnold Asham are a treat. The main crew on CTV, TSN and Sportsnet are ... the usual.

But online? These curling Games are simply made for computer desktop blogging, tweeting and whatevering. For example, did you know that:

- The Norwegian men's curling team pants have almost a quarter-million fans on Facebook?

- A somewhat pathetic mock curling display, held on tiny teflon "sheets" in a Washington hotel ballroom, attracted 400 crazed curling fans and turned even more away?

- Wayne Gretzky, NFL tight end Vernon Davis, retired U.S. spring great Carl Lewis and jazz crooner Michael Buble have all dropped in on the Vancouver curling madhouse?

- Said madhouse is in a neck-and-neck battle with the hockey venue for most beer sales?

- A U.S. lineup change provoked a fierce Twitter battle to be the first media organization to reveal the info?

- Technogeek magazine Wired has media accreditation for curling?

- Another women's curling calendar features seven of the Olympic curlers and they're more naked than ever?

- Someone hacked the Wikipedia entry of besieged U.S. men's skip John Shuster and rewrote it with words such as "choke artist"?

- David Letterman did another Top 10 Things About Curling list. And it still isn't funny?

And there's another full week to go.

GEORGE KARRYS, AN OLYMPIAN, IS: CURLINGURU.COM


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