Like many Olympians, members of the U.S. men’s bobsled team were looking for extra funds before heading to Beijing.
So they stripped down and shot a calendar. The promotion earned $90,000 in one week.
The Washington Post told the story of the Bob-Spread, the almost-nude calendar featuring members of Team USA posing shirtless, and in many cases, with nothing more than a red, white and blue speedo or thigh-high boxer briefs.
Push athlete Jeremy Reed, who’s also a photographer, organized the shoot last summer.
“We’re a very close team,” he told WaPo. “Shooting the calendar was a fun experience. It wasn’t awkward; it wasn’t anything that was a burden. We just came up with the idea for the person who we wanted to shoot and then took a couple photos.”
Bobsledding at an Olympic level is expensive. An elite sled costs up to $250,000, so the team rents one from USA Bobsled and Skeleton for a few grand. The WaPo says it costs around $25,000 to ship a sled one-way to Beijing.
USABS usually covers the expenses for top two American teams competing in the World Cup, but in order to guarantee more bobsledders would make the Olympics, the team needed to self-finance a third sled in the North American Cup.
The price for the additional sled was $70,000. The Bob-Spread covered the cost, and then some.
Carlo Valdes, a hairy and mustachioed push athlete who mimicked Burt Reynolds iconic 1972 Cosmopolitan centerfield photo shoot, says the extra money is a godsend.
“For me, I know it’s gonna go toward some self-funding, because not everything is paid for even though we’re at the Olympics,” he said.
Two four-man bobsled teams are representing the U.S. in Beijing (the third one didn’t qualify). The four-man competition starts Friday.
If they medal, the Bob-Spread may have to become an annual thing. We wouldn’t complain.