When women's bobsled Olympic competition kicks off Tuesday evening at the Whistler Sliding Centre, there will 21 sleds each boasting their own slick designs.
Aoife Hoey's glossy black sled is adorned with the Olympic rings and a shamrock for her native Ireland. Defending gold medalist Sandra Kiriasis has dressed up her white sled, aside from its usual turquoise and orange stripes, with red Canadian maple leaves. Her teammate, Cathleen Martini, won't be hard to miss as she soars down the notoriously fast Whistler course at 90 mph in bright lime-green. And Switzerland's Sabina Hafner will be barreling down the track in her team's majestic black and yellow, like a bee.
But when it comes to Manami Hino's bobsled, its stunning designs reflecting rich cultural image of her native Japan definitely wins gold -- hands down.
The sled features pink cherry blossoms painted all over, while an illustrious depiction of Mount Fuji is also included. But its most gorgeous feature is the Japanese woman in a kimono emblazoned on the front.
"We wanted to display the spirit of Japan," 30-year-old Hino told Reuters. "For me it's a very special design and I hope that it will give us luck."
In Vancouver, the Japanese pilot marks her second Winter Games appearance after finishing 15th in Torino.
- MacKenzie Wilson