Sport

Fearless USA bobsled team found ‘ridiculous’ way to fund Olympics journey – taking nudes

Emily Chudy February 16, 2022
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Three bobsledders, standing topless

(James Reed Photography)

When the USA men’s bobsled team found themselves $70,000 short for the Winter Olympics, they turned to a tried and tested fundraising idea: a naked calendar.

The calendar, entitled Bob-Spread, was part of fundraising efforts by the team to make it to the Beijing Olympics, where they are currently competing.

In a GoFundMe the bobsled team created to fill a $70,000 gap in funding, they explained that the United States Olympic team receives no government funding.

“Athletes rely on sponsorships, federations, and secondhand jobs to fund their Olympic journey,” the team wrote, adding that COVID and delays to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics “resulted in us being unable to fully fund the men’s team”.

With the Olympics drawing closer, bobsledder and photographer Jimmy Reed decided to create a provocative calendar to raise the money.

US men's bobsled team strips off to raise funds for Winter Olympics
US men’s bobsled team strips off to raise funds for Winter Olympics (James Reed Photography)
(James Reed Photography)

The calendars went on sale a few months ago, with USA Bobsled and Skeleton’s knowledge, but without any formal involvement with the national governing body.

Announcing the sale on Instagram, Reed said: “This has been an incredibly fun and rewarding project to work on.

“Is it over the top? Absolutely, yes. But it highlights what is unique about the sport of bobsledding. There is no one athlete or body type that can push a sled well. We are all different and push fast for different reasons.

“The Bob-Spread highlights what’s not often seen beneath the helmets and the speed suits, albeit in a pretty ridiculous manner.

“As the photographer and creator of the calendar I am really proud of this… I also want to thank all the guys who helped with ideas, held lights, set up the studio with me, and were willing to strip down for the photos.”

 

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A post shared by Jimmy Reed (@reedjamesk)

The 2022 games are the queerest Olympics yet with at least 35 publicly out LGBT+ athletes vying for the gold. It’s double the number of openly LGBT athletes who competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“Team LGBT+” won its first gold medal of the year when bisexual speed skater Ireen Wüst claimed her sixth Winter Olympics gold medal for the Netherlands in the women’s 1,500-meter final.

Its second gold medal win came when France scored a win for its “breathtaking” figure skating routine on Monday.

France’s Guillaume Cizeron, who is openly gay, and his partner Gabriella Papadakis not only won the gold medal but smashed a world record with a score of 226.98.

Speaking to Out magazine in 2020, Cizeron said on ice dancing: “I was lucky enough to find a space where I was able to express myself and feel included and supported.”

More: olympics

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