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Flavor Flav Becomes Official Hype Man for US Women's Water Polo Team at Paris Olympics
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 7 days ago on
May 10, 2024

Rap icon Flavor Flav has stepped forward to support the U.S. women's water polo team in their quest for another gold medal at the Paris Olympics, becoming their official hype man and a sponsor. (AP File)

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Maggie Steffens asked for more support for the U.S. women’s water polo team, and the captain received one particularly surprising response. From a clock-wearing rap icon.

Moved by Steffens’ Instagram post, Flavor Flav has stepped forward to help the U.S. team as it goes for an unprecedented fourth consecutive gold medal at the Paris Olympics this summer. He is finalizing a deal that will make him a USA Water Polo sponsor and the official hype man for a program seeking a bigger spotlight.

A New Role for a Rap Icon

The 65-year-old Flav, a founding member and hype man with Public Enemy, has jumped headfirst into his new duties, highlighting some of the team’s best players on social media. He also is making plans to watch the women’s team play in Paris.

“When I come out and I watch this water polo team … ‘USA! USA!’ Yo, I’m going to be the biggest hype man that they ever had in their life,” he told the AP on Friday. “I’m going to be bigger than any cheerleader that they had in their life. I’m going to cheer this team on, and I’m going to cheer this team into winning a gold medal.”

Boosting a Niche Sport

Winning has been the usual result for the U.S. women’s team since the 2012 Olympics. But it hasn’t attracted the same attention or support as similarly dominant American programs, largely because water polo remains a niche sport throughout most of the world.

That — along with a little nostalgia — prompted Steffens, 30, the last remaining member of the 2012 team, to post on Instagram. While expressing gratitude for the opportunity to play and her love for her sport, she also encouraged anyone reading the post to check out her team and highlighted the constant financial struggle for most Olympic athletes.

“One thing about me, I know what it feels like to want to see a dream come true,” said Flav, who is known for wearing a big clock on a chain around his neck. “I know what it feels like to want to achieve a goal, and I’m the type of person that, if I see you trying, then I’m going to do whatever I can to help you.”

Steffens said it was “very surreal” when Flav — whose legal name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr. — reached out. Asked what she knew about Flav and Public Enemy before the connection, Steffens promptly imitated Flav’s frequent “Flavor Flav!” declaration.

Team’s Reaction

“My whole family was like ‘Is this real? Flav is part of the water polo world now?’” Steffens said. “I was like ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but I want to wear a clock right now and that’s how I’m feeling.’”

Steffens and the U.S. team also have another high-profile supporter in Taylor Swift. They attended the musician’s Eras Tour concert on Friday night at La Défense Arena — the venue for the women’s water polo final on Aug. 10.

Women’s national team manager Ally Beck reached out to Swift’s camp and surprised the team with the tickets. Flav said he also contacted Swift’s team, but the tickets had already been approved.

Flav, who is working on another tour with Public Enemy that could begin later this year, then held up a T-shirt with his picture that read “KING SWIFTIE.”

“I’m proud to support Taylor. … Flavor Flav is a Swiftie, the king of all the Swifties,” he said.

That’s another connection Flav has with his new favorite team.

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