Olympics / Winter Olympics / Curling

Curling charms flying off shelves at shrine in Olympic bronze medalists’ hometown

Kyodo

Miniature curling stone charms have become a sold-out success at a shrine in the hometown of the Japanese women’s curling team which won bronze at the recent Pyeongchang Olympics.

In addition to being sold, the charms were given to the women who play for the Hokkaido-based team LS Kitami when they prayed for success at Tokoro Shrine on Feb. 3. The town of Tokoro is LS Kitami’s home base and is famous for producing some of Japan’s best curlers.

A representative of the shrine in northeast Hokkaido said its stock of charms had run out but it plans to resume sales in April.

The charms have either a red or blue curling stone about one-fifteenth the size of a regular stone attached to a short plaited rope and are sold for ¥500 ($4.80) each.

Each charm also comes with a fortune-telling strip of paper, written in both Japanese and English.

“We wanted many people to know that the whole town supported the team,” said Kazuyuki Mikado, the shrine’s chief priest.

The team, which beat Great Britain to win bronze after reaching the Pyeongchang semifinals with a five-win, four-loss record, also gave the charms to athletes from other countries competing at the games in South Korea.

One local who was lucky to get his hands on the mementos was primary school teacher Toma Inage.

Inage said he wants children in the area to remember the story of the young women who “fought hard on such a big stage.”