The USA Men’s bobsled team found a memorable and wildly successful way to cover a massive funding shortfall as the Beijing Olympics drew near.

The answer to the team’s money woes lay in their ready and ripped physical assets. The team collaborated on a sexy calendar, which features the athletes in steamy shirtless pics, many of them clad in only speedos or underwear and in some pics, nothing at all but a smile.

The calendar, titled Bob-Spread, was created when the team found itself with a whopping $70,000 funding shortfall.

Advertisement
The decision to do a calendar was part of a larger fundraising effort, which included a GoFundMe campaign. The GoFundMe raised over $96,000 in just a few days, well over their target of $70,000, but the team pressed on with the calendar idea anyway.

‘It Wasn’t Awkward’

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jimmy Reed (@reedjamesk)

Wed been talking about this for a long time,” U.S. bobsledder Carlo Valdes told NBC. It just never happened. Until now. Jimmy made it happen and everybody bought in. And nobody will be disappointed.”

Jimmy Reed, a member of the bobsled team who is also a photographer, came up with the calendar idea. 

Ive been interested in photography, like my entire life,” Reed said. My dad had cameras. And I remember always being very interested in National Geographic as a kid and I would do school projects on photography. But it really wasnt until four years ago that I bought my first camera. I had some leftover prize money from the 2016-17 season, so I bought my first camera and kind of dove in headfirst.”

Shooting the calendar was a fun experience. It wasnt awkward; it wasnt 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,” Reed told The Washington Post. Were a very close team,” Reed said.

‘There Is No One Athlete Or Body Type In Bobsled’

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Josh Williamson (@jwilliamsonusa)

In an Instagram post publicising the calendar,  Reed said, “This has been an incredibly fun and rewarding project to work on. The mens team has talked about creating a calendar this entire quad and its hard to believe we actually came through and have a product for everyone!”

Advertisement
“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 whats 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 have put in countless hours brainstorming, shooting, and editing these past few months and Im excited to share this with everyone. 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.”

Mr. February, Josh Williamson told NBC, Its a pretty funny thing that just kind of came out of nowhere and we had a lot of fun with it,” Williamson said. It kept our minds relaxed and it was stress-free, which was a good thing. It was one of the coolest things Ive been part of.”

An Expensive Sport

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Carlo Valdes (@carlovaldes_usa)

Other athletes who took part in the calendar include Manteo Mitchell, Charlie Volker and Hakeen Abdul-Saboor. Many bobsledders are competitive athletes in other sports, including Volker who is a running back and sprinter at Princeton University.

Advertisement
Bobsledder Carlo Valdes, who is a dead-ringer for Burt Reynolds, and mimics Reynolds’s iconic 1972 Cosmopolitan nude centre spread, told the Washington Post, The original idea was to help with the funding.”

Federations cant take care of everything. We still gotta pay out of pocket for some things. We need help with that, and luckily, the calendar has provided a small buffer outside of what people have donated.”

As for his re-creation of Reynolds’s nude spread, Valdes was clear; no nudity. That would have been…it would have been a lot,” Valdes told The Washington Post. The resulting photo was very tasteful,” said Valdes.

Qualifying For The Olympics

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (@has_fitness)

The calendar has raised $90,000 for the team in just one week of sales, essential for a sport noted for its extreme expensive gear. Elite sleds cost upwards of $250,000, and shipping one sled, one-way to Beijing cost $25,000.

Two four-man American bobsled teams from the USA ultimately qualified for the Olympics.

While USA Bobsled and Skeleton was aware of the plans for the calendar, the organisation was not involved with the project, nor does the calendar include any Olympic or sponsorship insignia.

Bobsled is an expensive sport,” said USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Aron McGuire. As one of the only countries that doesnt receive government funding, our sponsors and donors are critically important to us to provide support to USA athletes. While our goal is to fully fund the national team, we recognize that we arent there yet.”

 

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.