Canadian womens biathlon team takes clothes off to raise money

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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CALGARY Canadas female biathletes took off their clothes to be photographed for a calendar to raise both money for their sport and admiration for an athletic womans body.

Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta., Calgarys Sandra Keith, Rosanna Crawford of Canmore, Alta., Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake, Man., and Megan Tandy of Prince George, B.C., launched their 14-month calendar Wednesday by roller-skiing through downtown Calgary wearing shorts, tank tops and race bibs and their rifles strapped to their backs.

The women had printed the words power, aim, bold and focus down their bare legs. They skied boldly through the noon lunch crowd handing out cards promoting their calendar, which is themed Bold Beautiful Biathlon.

Were not used to taking our clothes off. Were used to keeping our lycra on, but it was a great team-building experience and there was a lot of nervous excitement about it, Kocher said.

Theyve had 5,000 calendars printed at $25 each, and aim to raise $80,000 to help cover their travel and training expenses heading into the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

The biathletes arent the first athletes to pose nude for calendars to raise money for their sport or charitable organizations.

Beckie Scott, an Olympic gold medallist in cross-country skiing, and teammate Sara Renner produced a similar calendar in 2001 and support the biathletes decision to do it.

As the mother of a daughter, I would be proud to see pictures of these role models on my childs wall as opposed to a synthetically-enhanced Hollywood star, Renner said.

The Canadian womens rugby team has produced a 24-month calendar of players posing nude with rugby balls and Canadian flags placed strategically on their bodies.

An international curling calendar, including Canadians Christine Keshan and Chrissy Cadorin, was released in September.

The biathletes were photographed in poses demonstrating balance or strength, and in shooting positions.

We wanted to communicate beautiful bodies, but the beauty of being active, being healthy and being self-confident, Tandy said.

My family is going to be helping sell the calendar in B.C., so theyre in complete support of the whole journey, the whole process and the calendar as well.

Crawford is the younger sister of Chandra Crawford, an Olympic gold medallist in cross-country skiing.

I was pretty nervous at first, said Crawford. Its more than just raising money. Were doing this to promote a healthy lifestyle throughout Canada and showing beautiful athletic bodies while doing it.

Usually I am dressed head to toe in clothing when Im out there skiing so it was definitely a different experience, but I loved every minute of it.

The calendars are on sale at www.boldbeautifulbiathlon.com.

Geographic location: CALGARY, Red Deer, Canmore Falcon Lake Prince George Vancouver Whistler Hollywood Canada

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