SBD/February 21, 2014/Olympics

The Luger Who Cried Wolf: Viral Video Posted By U.S. Athlete Part Of Late-Night Gag

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Thursday night acknowledged that a viral video posted by U.S. luger Kate Hansen on Wednesday that appears to show a wolf walking down the hallway near her room in the Olympic Village was a hoax concocted by his show. The video included the #SochiProblems hashtag, and Kimmel noted "within minutes" of Hansen posting the video on Twitter and YouTube, almost "every news and sports website had a story on it." Kimmel: "Even had a story on it, in case you needed your four-day wolf forecast. ... The media went nuts, which is what I was hoping for, and it got a lot of coverage." He noted Hansen "let us have control of her Twitter account to do this." Hansen appeared on the broadcast live from Sochi via satellite and said, "There was a little bit more backlash than I thought there would be. But it was all worth it in the end." Hansen said after posting the video, she did not want to bring it up with her fellow athletes "because that's not cool, that's not how you play it.' Hansen: "So I just kind of laid low, but then I started hearing people talk around the building and security started freaking out because technically it was a breach within athlete safety. So it kind of went a little crazy over here." Kimmel noted the show built a replica of Hansen's dorm hallway to shoot the video. Kimmel said to Hansen, "Would you consider bringing a live bear to the Closing Ceremony?" Hansen: "Let me see what I can find" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 2/20). NBC's "Today" aired the video Thursday, prompting the net's Willie Geist on Friday to say, "Yesterday we were had by the great Jimmy Kimmel." He added, "In fairness, we called Kate yesterday, before the show, and asked her about this. She said, 'It was me.' She said, 'I thought it was a dog, and it might have been a wolf.' She said, 'It was sketchy either way.' She confirmed the story" ("Today," NBC, 2/21).

TAKING THINGS IN STRIDE: IOC Dir of Communications Mark Adams said of the video, "It made me kind of laugh as an individual, not as an IOC spokesman. I don't think there's any harm done. I don't think it's anything serious." SOCOG VP/Communications Alexandra Kosterina: "It's their business if they want to do that. It's OK. People are having fun" (AP, 2/21). But USA Luge spokesperson Sandy Caligiore in an e-mail wrote, "I can tell you that our organization is not happy with the incident. Sochi problems? Sochi fail? That's not USA Luge speaking" (, 2/21).
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