Stephen Colbert is sponsoring U.S. Olympic speedskating team
Our pals at SportsTalk are handling this one in print, so here from the AP: On Monday's The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert announced his show has become the primary sponsor of the U.S. Speedskating team. The team's largest annual cash sponsor, DSB Bank NV, left the team in the lurch after it declared bankruptcy in October.
The name "Colbert Nation" -- the catchall for the legion of ardent fans of the satirical Comedy Central program -- will be emblazoned on the team's uniforms.
"On their enormous, billboard thighs, it will say, 'Colbert Nation,"' Colbert said in an interview before Monday evening's taping. "Be looking for that logo as it comes around the final turn. It will be easy to see because it will be in first place."
Speedskating has produced some of the most iconic figures in U.S. Olympic history, from Eric Heiden to Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair. In all, Americans have claimed 75 medals -- 32 of them gold -- on the traditional long track oval and the wild-and-wooly short track rink. In Vancouver, Shani Davis, Chad Hedrick and short track star Apolo Anton Ohno will all be vying for medals.
"I personally love Comedy Central + The Colbert Report," Ohno said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Any attention the sport can get is going to be beneficial. I'd like to see how creative they can get! I'm game to do a skit about it :-)"
The show isn't paying the team any money directly. Instead, Colbert is calling on his fans to donate to the team via www.colbertnation.com and www.usspeedskating.org. In the past, Colbert has had a great deal of success raising money this way. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a charity that assists injured service members and their families.
[Photo: Colbert with U.S. Speedskating executive director Robert Crowley, front, and Jansen. AP]