Athlete fan pages take many forms, but the one recently started to honour Kate Courtney could be the best, and funniest one yet.
Kate is an Animal is an Instagram page devoted to the scientific pursuit of determining which species of animal the young American XCO world champion is. Each post is presented as the findings of the anonymous creators “research,” and pairs a picture of Courtney with various animals. Text is limited to the common name and a modified, or “Kate-ified” Latin name.
Among the many potential matches so far are Emperor Penguin (“Aptenokates forsteri”), Green Tree Frog (Hyla katerea), Brown Bear (Ursus katos), Fig Beetle (deceased) (Katinis mutabilis), Great White Shark (Carcharodon katarias) and Harp Seal (Pagophilus groenlandikate). Varying between the expected apex predators and more humorous posts keeps Kate is an Animal entertaining even as the account approaches 40 different species hypotheses.
Courtney’s long-time mechanic Brad Copeland has weighed in in the comments several times, but denies being the brains behind the research. Even the world champion herself, who has a pretty great sense of humour on her own Instagram page, has started getting involved lately.
Of course, the account is a play on the go-to phrase of sports commentators everywhere to describe an especially hard race effort, “… is an animal!” Red Bull live commentator Rob Werner is especially fond of the phrase and used it to describe the American, and other racers, several times during the 2018 World Cup season. At no point did Werner specify which species.
For a behind-the-scenes look at Kate Courtney’s first season in the elite category, culminating in her 2018 world championships win, watch the full series of The Fast Life. The second season Red Bull’s popular online series co-stars Courtney along with Canadian downhill racer Finn Iles.