CANOE NAGANO '98 ISP DIRECTORY
Tuesday, June 10, 1997
Animal Snowboard team's mascot
NEW YORK (AP) -- Animal, the high-energy, raspberry-haired drummer of
the Muppets band, was introduced Tuesday as the mascot for the U.S. Snowboard
Snowboarding is one of the newest sports to be added to the Winter
Olympics for the Nagano, Japan Games in February.
Officials of Jim Henson Productions, creator of the popular Muppets
troupe which includes Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, said it was the first
time a Muppet has been designated as an official mascot for a team. The company
plans a global merchandising campaign to expand the program.
"Animal's got the perfect attitude for snowboarding and he's going to
be a great fit for us," Anton Pogue of Hood River, Ore., slalom bronze medalist
in the 1997 World Championships, said during a press conference at an industry
licensing show. "We're counting on him to be in Nagano with us."
Halfpipe specialist Rob Kingwill of Jackson, Wyo., another World
Championships bronze medalist, added, "Snowboarding is an individual sport and
Animal's definitely the most individual of the Muppets. I'm really stoked about
being teamed with him."
Tom Kelly, vice president of public relations for the U.S. Ski and
Snowboard Association, the national federation for Olympic skiing and
snowboarding, said, "This is the start of a great opportunity for us. Animal's
going to help us reach beyond the traditional winter sports audience and allow
us to bring the excitement of this new sport to millions of new potential
Snowboarding, which includes alpine (racing) and freestyle (halfpipe)
events, joins the Olympic lineup in Nagano with men's and women's giant slalom
races and halfpipe contests.