The band O.A.R. discusses Russian athletes renewing interest in their music

Russia’s exclusion from the PyeongChang Winter Games has bestowed the world with one of the most random running Olympic gags. The Olympic Athletes of Russia, abbreviated to OAR for short, have caught the attention of fans of the jam band O.A.R.

If you’ve listened to alternative rock since the late 90s, chances are you were confused when you heard they were competing in PyeongChang, thought there must be a fascinating story behind it and was ultimately disappointed to learn the truth. O.A.R. actually performed at the 2015 Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, but the more relevant OAR in the 2018 Olympics is a group of 169 Russian athletes who were allowed to compete after Russia was banned after a widespread doping scandal was exposed in 2015.

O.A.R. may have some name recognition in Russia after these Olympics (Getty Images/Ethan Miller)
O.A.R. may have some name recognition in Russia after these Olympics (Getty Images/Ethan Miller)

Mashable caught up to the band O.A.R’s lead vocalist and guitarist Marc Roberge, and discovered how they’re handling their sudden resurgence in popularity.

“When the games started the phone calls started coming in, the emails, the texts — now to the point where every single morning I have a funny run-in with somebody about it,” he said. “It’s grown into this thing, but it’s hilarious, it’s awesome and I love it.”

“As a group, we’re huge sports fans, we’ve always toured the country and visited a lot of different sports teams,” he said. “The Olympics is a huge event. I have memories my whole life watching with my family and now I do it in the mornings with my own kids…I’m trying to enjoy it, and we’re athletic by proxy now at this point.”

More importantly, while the band is still making music and dropped a new single on Monday, the Russians have inadvertently provided them with free publicity as Roberge told Mashable, “It’s the most coverage we’ve had ever.”

There are no plans for a Russian leg of their next tour, but don’t be surprised if they make the announcement given their unintentional connection to Russians after these Olympics.

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