It's the cross-promotional marketing opportunity you never saw coming: American luge athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics will be wearing outfits based upon Valiant's X-O Manowar, thanks to a new partnership between the publisher and the US Olympic team. No, really.The sponsorship deal means that the American team will be dressed like Valiant's time-displaced Visigoth when they go into action in the Sochi games eighteen months from now. The deal is apparently worth six figures, and according to USA Luge Director of Marketing, Gordon Sheer, "Valiant is helping the team with financial support; we're a small sport and every bit of help that we get is absolutely meaningful, and directly impacts our ability to perform."

The changes to the outfit are entirely cosmetic, Sheer says; the material of the suits comes through a process of trial and error and scientific testing, he told the Wall Street Journal, describing it as a "lycra sandwich," and won't be affected by the redesign. According to the WSJ's John Jurgensen, the deal helps Valiant through the publicity it brings to the publisher: "The real benefits are really cross-promotional for both sides," he said. "For Valiant, the idea is really to become a household name... They really want to spread the word about their characters, and about their properties."

We can only hope that this deal ends up a success for both partners, resulting in more deals of this kind. Who wouldn't want to see Lady Sabre fencing teams, or wrestlers dressed like Dark Horse's Concrete?

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