Gold win means pink beard for US ski spokesman

You have to wonder whether US Ski and Snowboard spokesman Tom Kelly has pink hair dye on his must-pack list before he heads off to the Winter Olympics.

For the third time in the past four Games, Kelly has honored a pink-haired athlete’s medal win by dying hair on his head.

“For me it’s a commitment to our athletes,” says Kelly, who has a pink beard thanks to Kikkan Randall’s gold medal in cross-country skiing.

The first time Kelly had a chance to get his hair dyed he chickened out.

At the 1999 world championships, snowboarder Rosey Fletcher was tinting the hair of some athletes. At first, Kelly agreed to get his hair done, too, but then he backed out — with a condition. He told Fletcher he would dye his hair if she reached the podium at the Olympics.

In 2006 at Turin, Italy, she won a bronze in the parallel giant slalom.

And the pledge was widened to other athletes. Four years later, moguls skier Shannon Bahrke won a bronze in Vancouver, British Columbia, and it was dye time again.

On Saturday, five-time Olympian Randall was the one grinning, posting a photo of her and Kelly to Instagram with the caption: “Be careful when you make bets with people who have pink hair… #medalbet #pinkhair #goodsport.”

Earlier this week, Randall teamed with Jessie Diggins (no, she doesn’t have pink hair) to take gold in the team sprint free and win the United States’ first Olympic medal in women’s cross-country skiing.

Kelly doesn’t actually bring the dye with him, so found himself at the Olympic Village hair salon on Saturday, FaceTiming his granddaughter, who is a hair stylist, to make sure everything went well. Randall was also next to him, overseeing the operation.

Kelly says the pledge is a way to celebrate and also bring attention to the athletes and their achievements.

Kelly plans to keep the beard — which is gray for almost four years at a time — pink until the dye wears off.