Stephen Colbert to sponsor the U.S. Winter Olympic Speedskating team

s-COLBERT-OLYMPICS-large“Colbert Nation” became the new official sponsor of the 2010 U.S. Winter Olympic Speedskating team Monday night after Stephen Colbert signed up his viewers to provide the team’s primary funding.

The team lost its largest cash provider in October when its No. 1 sponsor, DBS Bank  NV, declared bankruptcy.  “Colbert Nation” will replace the old DBS logo on the team’s new uniforms.

U.S. Speedskating Executive Director Bob Crowley told the Associated Press that it was “definitely an unconventional arrangement,” but he said he thought it would generate exposure for the sport.

“We’re highly optimistic that the country is going to get behind this and get behind the Colbert Nation and support this amazing team,” Crowley told the AP before appearing on The Colbert Report to present the contract. “I don’t have any idea if it’s going to make $5 or $500,000. I couldn’t tell you.”

Colbert is no stranger to raising serious cash.  He already raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Yellow Ribbon fund for wounded veterans.  He once sold a cast off his wrist to someone on Ebay to raise $17,200 for the fund.  Colbert told his audience to donate money at ColberNation.com and USSpeedskating.com.

The U.S. Speedskating team will compete this weekend in the first qualifying round of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  The team has won 75 medals for the U.S. – 35 of them gold.  Colbert told the Associated Press that he was considering taking his show to Vancouver when the team competes in the Olympics.

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