But even though all eight berths on the women's sledding team have been decided, the team's future is less certain. The IOC still has not approved bobsledding as a women's Olympic sport and probably will not do so before the '98 Games, in Nagano, Japan. Until that happens, entitling their team to part of the money doled out by the U.S. Olympic Committee, the women are relying on help from sponsors such as Shoei Safety Helmets and on fund-raising by team members.
A two-person bobsled can cost as much as $15,000, and competing in events such as the International Ladies' Cup, which will be held Jan. 16-21 in St. Moritz, is fiercely expensive. Still, the candidates for the team went into the sport knowing they would have to raise much of their program's money themselves, at least for the first few years. They pay their own way to and from sessions in Lake Placid—use of the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic bobsled run itself is free, courtesy of the USBSF and the Olympic Regional Development Authority—and train on their own time in their hometowns.
"You know, I heard the Shriners give money to poor, indigent people," says Powe-Allred, mulling over the events of the September weekend. "I was looking right at them in their little outfits and never even thought about it. Maybe we should give them a call. You can't be more indigent than we are."