February 19, 2014

Olympian Took Name of German Underwear Company: One of the men's luge competitors, Bruno Banani of Tonga, renamed himself after a Germany underwear company of the same name. There are Olympic rules about marketing athletes, but none that prohibited Fuahea Semi from taking the name as part of an effort in Tonga to get an Olympian to compete. He failed to qualify in Vancouver four years ago, crashing and waking up in the hospital, but made it to Sochi. "This is the name that made history for me," he said. "And I will stay with it. The name will always be there. Whatever people want to call me, it just doesn't matter."

posted by rcade to olympics at 05:08 PM - 2 comments

Thanks. Having once lived in Tonga, I've been tracking this.

The story, like all media stories on Tonga, leaves out a lot. Things like the principals being previously involved in passports for sale, having FIFA bans imposed, losing public funds money in unethical investments, stuff like that.

But I'm sure Bruno is having fun.

posted by owlhouse at 08:42 PM on February 19, 2014

He's a legitimate competitor, among the back of the pack crowd. In the men's luge event he didn't make a fool of himself, and that's a sport where it would be easy to do that and get yourself seriously hurt. I wondered whether the naming gimmick was even necessary to get him into the Olympics.

posted by rcade at 09:18 AM on February 20, 2014

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