By Paul Thornton
WITH the British team tipped for curling gold at the forthcoming Winter Olympics, the sport – loved in Scotland – is set to get the Simpsons treatment.
In a new episode being shown later this week Homer, Marge and Groundskeeper Willie team up to slide the stones all the way to Vancouver 2010.
The episode – being shown in America on Valentine’s Day – is likely to attract even more viewers than the 10m who tuned in to see Ayr’s Rhona Martin and her team clinch gold at the 2002 games.
Rhona sparked curling-fever when she skippered the team to success in Salt Lake City and it is hoped two Scots rinks representing Britain can make a similar impact this year.
In the new episode of the popular cartoon Homer takes Marge out for a romantic evening of ice skating and hand-holding.
But on entering the rink they encounter a curling team practicing and discover their love for the sport.
They join the curling team and compete with them in the Olympic trials in which Team Springfield succeeds and moves on to the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Canadian rinks are reported to be holding beer and donut parties in celebration of the obscure sport’s new found fame.
The news has also been welcomed in Scotland where the sport can attract huge audiences during winter games.
Bill Martin – president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club – said the cartoon curling capers should be good for the sport’s profile.
He said: “Although I don’t watch The Simpsons, I’m all in favour if it helps to increase awareness of the sport.
“So long as they are not ridiculing curling it can only be good for us.
This year’s women’s captain Eve Muirhead added: “I think it is cool that Homer is going to be a curler. It will help to raise the profile of the sport.”
The men’s team – from Lockerbie – are captained by David Murdoch.
Murdoch – 2009 curling world champion – is tipped to lead his side to gold glory at the Canadian games which start February 12.
He is looking to make-up for heartache at the 2006 games where his side came in fourth.
Murdoch, 31, said: “It was very painful. Losing the semi-final was bad and you always want to get something from your results and it was tough to take. We regrouped and all went home to the Scottish championship and then won the worlds so we got some rewards.”