Feb 18, 2018; Gangneung, South Korea; The Olympic Athletes from Russia walks off the ice after loosing to Canada in the women's ice hockey semifinals during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

If you saw the acronym for the Olympic Athletes from Russia and thought of the band with the same initials, you apparently aren’t alone. The alt-rock band O.A.R. has seen a resurgence in notoriety and popularity due to Russian athletes competing under the name OAR.

Due to the widespread Russian doping scandal infiltrating all sports, the nation of Russia was banned from the PyeongChang Olympics but not necessarily the athletes. Those Russian athletes who were deemed “clean” were allowed to compete but couldn’t represent their country. So instead, they are representing the “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” or “OAR,” with the Olympic flag and Olympic anthem.

The unexpected winners from this move may have been the band O.A.R. (Of a Revolution) because it has really caused a spike in interest.

“It’s been surreal, absolutely surreal,” lead singer Marc Roberge told ESPN Tuesday from Montana, where he was skiing with his family. “At first I thought it would be a cool coincidence, maybe somebody would mention it on TV or something. But now, every single morning I’m getting phone calls, emails, text messages. Family, friends, strangers. It’s pretty wild to think somebody is watching the Olympics and thinking about us.”

Companies would kill to have this kind of natural marketing for a worldwide audience and O.A.R. seemed to have that. In the 2014 World Cup, Keisuke Honda provided the car company some unexpected publicity, for a tournament sponsored by Hyundai. But this is another thing entirely.

It’s perfect timing that O.A.R. is going back on tour this summer so they should sell a few more tickets due to this surge of popularity. But while it would make sense to root for the other OAR in the Olympics, O.A.R. isn’t going that far and are still rooting for Team USA.

“I mean, I’m not rooting for them. I want to see the U.S. win,” Roberge said. “But that makes it so weird. I’m watching the U.S. hockey team go down and get it pretty good from Russia and they just keep talking about OAR dominating over and over and over.”


About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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