Leading up to the Summer Olympics, Missoula native and U.S.A. mountain bike team member Sam Schultz earned a nickname: Uncle Sam. It was a no-brainer considering Schultz's opportunity to represent his country, and the patriotic uniform that came along with the honor.
Colby Waller, a graphic designer at Thor Design Studio in Washington, D.C., does some work for Schultz's professional team, Subaru-Trek. More than anything, he's a fan of the sport and has followed Schultz's arrival as one America's top riders. Realizing that Schultz had just won a national championship and was about to head to London, Waller got the idea to produce a one-off poster playing off of Schultz's newfound nickname.
"I asked Subaru-Trek, 'If I produce this, will you take it to London?' and they were all for it," he says. "It came together pretty fast."
About 100 posters were printed, along with a stack of companion posters for Schultz's Subaru-Trek teammate and Canadian Olympian, Emily Batty (see below). The posters traveled to London with the Subaru-Trek team manager and were handed out along the Olympic race course. Waller says a few also made their way back to Subaru-Trek headquarters in Wisconsin. But that's it — nobody else has really seen them, they're not available for fans to purchase and Waller isn't aware of any plans to reprint additional posters them in the future.
"It was completely unofficial and completely for fun," he says. "It was one of those things you do just to flex your creative muscle, and to create a collectors item for fans."
It's been about a month since Schultz donned red, white and blue in London and finished a solid 15th out of 50 riders, but it's not too late to appreciate this rare piece of memorabilia and Waller's work.