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Stephen Colbert skates onto a Sports Illustrated cover

December 15, 2009 | 10:41 am


ColbertApparently not satisfied with that NASA treadmill, the devoted fans in Colbert Nation set their sights on something larger (albeit not higher) than exercise equipment in space: complete and total ownership of the wonderfully fit human beings who make up the U.S. speedskating team.

Their gift with purchase? The cover of Sports Illustrated for Stephen Colbert -- in a skating uniform and tie.

Ah, yes, we jest. It's sponsorship, not ownership. Silly us. But the other was so much more dramatic, no?

It started back in November, when mock-pundit Colbert announced that Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" would sponsor the team, which was left in a $300,000 hole when its financial-industry partner declared bankruptcy and waved goodbye.

"We must ensure that it is America's 38-inch thighs on that medal platform!" he said at the time.

So far, according to USA Speedskating, about 8,500 people have responded to raise about $250,000.

The comedian most recently featured on the SI cover? It was Chris Rock, supporting any number of teams back in December 2000.

And who graced the cover the week before Rock did?

That'd be "sportsman of the year" and "one cool cat" Tiger Woods.

No lie.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: That ain't no bikini model -- it's Stephen Colbert, on the cover of the Dec. 21 edition of Sports Illustrated. Credit: Michael O'Neill / Sports Illustrated / Associated Press.

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