What’s in a name? More specifically, what’s in a sled’s name?
For a bobsleigh or skeleton athlete, there’s a whole lot to it.
After all, to an Olympian, a sled isn’t just some inhuman hunk of metal; it’s an integral part of their sporting success. And over time, sleds can even take on personalities of their own—heavily influenced by the personalities of their riders, of course.
Here’s a look at the names and backstories of some of the Canadian sleds we’ll be seeing in PyeongChang.
Matador 64 (Justin Kripps, bobsleigh)
Kripps has a pair of sleds in South Korea, and says there’s “no illustrious history” behind the name of his two-man sled. Quite simply, it’s named after his favourite shotgun from the classic PlayStation video game Destiny.
Fury (Justin Kripps, bobsleigh)
As for Kripps’ four-man sled, it’s also got a weaponized moniker, taking its name from the World War II film starring Brad Pitt.
Bagheera (Alysia Rissling, bobsleigh)
If you remember the wise black panther from The Jungle Book, then you’ve got a clear picture of how Rissling named her sled.
Jezebel (Kaillie Humphries, bobsleigh)
While that name carries a number of connotations, two-time Olympic champ Humphries says she simply borrowed the title from a durable tractor that, over time, became the most valuable piece of equipment a family owned. “I wanted to honour that family, so I’ve brought that name over.”
Zeus (Jane Channell, skeleton)
While her sled is named for the Greek god of thunder, her Olympic helmet design also carries meaning. Vancouver 2010 inspired her to compete, and its motto was “Glowing Hearts”; her helmet bears a human sternum with a maple leaf in place of a heart.
Dan (Mirela Rahneva, skeleton)
Rahneva says the sport has provided her with a new family, so it’s fitting that when she sought a name for her sled (which she purchased through crowdfunding), the winning suggestion was Dan, the name of her old rugby coach’s late father.
Lola Bunny (Kevin Boyer, skeleton)
Another dad-themed name comes from 24-year-old Boyer, the youngest member of the men’s skeleton team. In this case, his dad came up with Lola Bunny. Who could say no to that?
Sven (Elisabeth Vathje, skeleton)
Like Kripps, Vathje drew some cinematic inspiration (though from a very different kind of movie), naming her sled after the reindeer from Frozen. As for her helmet, the lumberjack, moose and maple leaf came about when she asked the designer to come up with the most Canadian design possible.
Candice (Barrett Martineau, skeleton)
Who’s Candice? A family member? An old teacher or coach? Nope. Martineau, who was inspired to become an Olympian by Jon Montgomery’s famous beer chug at Vancouver 2010, named his sled after supermodel Candice Swanepoel.