Based on figure skating being an extremely stressful Olympic sport, the U.S. Figure Skating organization and Milk-Bone® devised a genius solution to help its athletes relax before and after their performances. Their big idea did not rely on pharmaceuticals, medical procedures or acupuncture — but instead, something very novel — namely puppies.
Starting in the Lounge
It's well agreed by people from all walks of life that "dogs are man's best best friend." For the Team USA athletes, that adage becomes all the more clear.
The athlete’s lounge, sponsored by Milk-Bone® doesn't only display photo of happy dogs and canine decor, but with this new campaign, they've take the initiative to provide actual puppies for some up-close-and-personal snuggling.
Unfortunately Ashley Wagner’s chance to win a slot on the U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Team at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games did not materialize. But in her sadness, she found solace and a super warm hug from one of the Milk-Bone® pups.
Team USA + Milk-Bone®
The United States Olympic Committee and Milk-Bone® initiative gives fans an inside look at the role dogs play in supporting the Olympic dreams of their owners. From allies on long training runs to a source of love on the toughest of days, athletes credit their pooches with keeping them grounded and clear-headed.
Team USA and Milk-Bone® follow four athletes and their furry friends on their website. Representing multiple sports, this select group includes cross-country skier Jessie Diggins and her dog Leo, snowboarder Hailey Langland and her dog Denver, and ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani and their dogs Lily and Po.
Fans can also submit photos of their own #TeamUSAPups for the chance to win a Team USA and MilkBone® prize.
According to Sean McCann, senior sports psychologist with the U.S. Olympic Committee, “There is a big body of work to show how dogs have such a positive impact on people: Decreased heart rate, better sleep, lower blood pressure . . . Every aspect of an athlete’s life is considered a performance factor and there is hardly any performance factor than being happy.”
"Everything is a performance factor for an athlete, and there's hardly any bigger factor than being happy," said McCann. "Directing attention to a companion gives an athlete a greater sense of purpose and makes a big difference with happiness. Dogs are funny, they make us laugh, and all these things are good for an athlete."
Primary Source: Team USA