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Speedskater gets $18K in donations

Published July 2, 2013 6:33 pm

Olympics • After her stipend gets cut, Salt Lake City resident's online plea pays off.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When U.S. speedskater Emily Scott posted on a crowdfunding website, she didn't expect this would happen. After reading about how her monthly stipend from U.S. Speedskating was cut from $1,950 to $600 and her wrenching decision to apply for food stamps, many responded with financial support.

Before USA Today published her story Monday, Scott had raised $190 in two months.

By Tuesday evening, she had raised $18,410 and counting on gofundme.com.

Scott, 24, who lives and trains in Salt Lake City, has a part-time job at a surgical supply factory to help make ends meet. (The job, with GE Healthcare, is through the Team USA Career Program.) She trains six days a week, about eight hours a day. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are seven months away.

"It's so amazing," Scott said Tuesday night. "Strangers who don't even know me. I've written back to everyone who's donated trying to express my gratitude, but I don't think I can say thank you enough. It's crazy.

"It's astonishing that people care that much. I thought my own governing body didn't believe in me and for these strangers to believe in me, it felt really good."

When she learned about the outpouring after practice, she immediately called her dad, Craig, who raised his daughters as a single dad. "I cried to him. The whole time he's been telling me everything will work out. He said, 'I told you to keep believing.' "

Scott said when she initially posted on the website, she didn't think she would get much response since there are several other speedskaters and potential Olympians also trying to raise money on the site. Fortunately, she was wrong.

"I'm still in a little bit of shock," she said. After being so focused on how to make ends meet, now she can concentrate on making the Olympic team.

"I was able to breathe for a second and look at things a little bit differently and plan a little bit better about what I want to do to make the Sochi team," she said.