Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Steven Holcomb and the rest of his gold medal-winning bobsled team arrived at the Today show studio in New York City expecting to continue their media tour, business as usual. But as Holcomb walked backstage, he made eye contact with a copper-colored Golden retriever named Bailey.
"She looked over at me, I looked at her, and she stared at me as I walked by," Holcomb tells PEOPLEPets.com. He didn't know why she was there, but amid the chaos of the live-TV set, they had a moment.
Two-year-old Bailey, who was picked up in Harlem after being abandoned on the street, had come to the studio to tape a segment called Bow-to-WOW!, where shelter dogs from the city's Animal Care & Control get to strut their stuff on camera in the hopes of finding their forever homes.
She probably had no idea she'd be finding her new forever home that very day.
The show's producers decided to have the dogs walk out onto the set led by the four members of the bobsled team, and "sure enough, they handed me Bailey," Holcomb says.
"It was like an instant connection. All the people there were like, 'Whoa, you tamed her.' " On camera, Holcomb told host Matt Lauer that he might take her home himself — and later in the segment, he announced that he would be adopting Bailey.
Despite having just won an Olympic gold medal, Holcomb filled out an adoption application "just like everyone else," which has since been approved according to spokesperson Richard Gentles.
"She took to him almost immediately," Gentles says. "She calmed right down and this peacefulness came over her. She definitely picked him."
Holcomb still has a week left in his media tour before he can head back to Colorado Springs, where he trains, and prep for Bailey's arrival. He's excited by the prospect of sharing his home with a new furry friend — since losing his 14-year-old springer spaniel last year, he had been hoping to find a new dog.
"It's been lonely and empty," Holcomb says. "To come home after a really hard workout and there's nobody there waiting for you."
Once Bailey gets settled into her new home, the first order of business might be to teach her his world-famous Holcy dance.
"That'd be one great trick to be able to teach!"