GANGNEUNG, South Korea - In the moments after it became obvious that the United States was about to win the gold medal in men's curling for the first time, Matt Hamilton turned toward the crowd and grinned.
Then a loud shout came from an American fan in the upper deck on Saturday night:
"I LOVE YOUR MUSTACHE!!!!!!"
Here we are America. #GoldMedalGame today vs Sweden. I know I have asked a lot of you guys but I need EVERYONE just One. More. Time. Here we go!! #HAMfam #ShuCrew #HamiltonMustacheMilitia #TeamUSA LETS GO!!!! 12:30 central, @NBCSports. Be there with your #stache and get loud!!!!! pic.twitter.com/S1ZP3ENBlF
— Matt Hamilton (@MattJamilton) February 24, 2018
Hamilton turned toward the shout and smiled broadly, fanning his face with his hand while fake swooning. As usual, the 29-year-old Hamilton looked like he was having the most fun of anyone in the building.
"Believe it or not, I don't hate attention," Hamilton said, eliciting hearty laughs from his teammates. "It's been a lot of fun to get on a stage like this and be an ambassador for the sport."
Hamilton's had quite a run on television and social media the past few weeks after playing in mixed doubles before the men's team made its gold medal run. His large frame, big red hat and prominent mustache have drawn comparisons to everyone from Super Mario to Kansas City football coach Andy Reid. Even Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was getting in on the fun, interacting with Hamilton on Twitter.
Thanks to @chrisplys, the official #hamiltonmustachemilitia has been born. You’ve got a few hours to sprout, grow, clip and groom. Don’t waste time...get ‘em ready and tweet to us with the hashtag. Don’t do it for you. Do it for America! #USA pic.twitter.com/J9Dxxgd83G
— Team Shuster (@TeamShuster) February 22, 2018
All jokes aside, it was obvious that the U.S. team fed off Hamilton's good-natured antics. And his confidence allowed him to focus - and thrive - even in a pressure-packed gold medal game that included an audience of Ivanka Trump and the King of Sweden.
"I've got this mindset that everyone is here to watch me," Hamilton said.
— Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12) February 24, 2018
Sweden's team even noticed the jovial U.S. vibe and said it's part of what led to their success.
"They have a lot fun, they take it easy so to speak and have a lot of spirit," Sweden's skip Niklas Edin said.
For Hamilton, it's the only way he knows how to play. And he hopes that it might inspire a younger generation to start playing the sport.
"Maybe it makes it seem a little less stiff and little more for younger people and cool," Hamilton said. "Growing up, I know I didn't see it as cool until I was high school ... but it's such an amazing sport."