Openly gay Olympic skater Blake Skjellerup does not have the financial resources to compete in the Sochi Olympics. That's why a new Indiegogo campaign is being launched to help get him there. If his goals are met he could be the only openly LGBT athlete competing in the games.
Despite misconceptions about the income of famous athletes, the financial and physical resources required to participate in the Olympic games are often a barrier to entry for athletes who qualify. Blake, for example, lives with family and commutes an hour each way on a train every day to his training center to save money. He struggles just to cover living costs.
To qualify for the Olympics and compete at his highest level, he needs resources he doesn't have access to at this time. With the current climate for LGBT people in Russia it's now more important than ever to support our out atheltes. The You Can Play project, Outsports, GLAAD, the StandUp Foundation, Out Magazine, The Advocate, and many members of the LGBT sports movement and the larger community are working on this fundraising campaign to send Blake Skjellerup all of the resources he needs in the next few months.
When asked about the financial situation as an Olympic speed skater, Blake responded with one word: "bankruptcy."
Blake needs at least $15,000 to compete in these four World Cup events and qualify for the Sochi Olympics. He's hoping to just get that, but if he were to obtain at least $33,000, he estimates that would enable him to perform at his peak during the events. The campaign's goal at is being set at the bare minimum he needs with the hope and expectation that he might achieve his higher goals and be put on competitive footing with other participants.
The funding for this project goes directly to Blake. The resources required include:
- "Travel for Blake, his coach and his physio therapist to all four World Cup events. Without our support, he will travel alone -- in places like China and Russia -- and will not have his coach or physio therapist at any of these crucial World Cup events. Having his support structure with him at these competitions is critical to his success."
- "His physio therapist with him for the two weeks leading up to the final two World Cup events. Without our support, he has no physio therapist preparing him for the two races that specifically determine whether he qualifies for the Olympic Games."
- "Accommodations closer to the training center in the two weeks before the qualifiers and before the Olympic Games. To cut costs, Blake lives over an hour away from the training center and must take the train every day. Our support will allow him to save over two hours of travel each day before the qualifiers and the Olympic Games and let him focus exclusively on his training. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Blake finished 16th overall in the 1000m. At the World Championships earlier this year, Blake finished in the top 32 of the 500m and 1500m races after battling injury."
To help aid Blake's journey to the Winter games please visit the project's Indiegogo page: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/send-out-gay-speed-skater-blake-skjellerup-to-the-world-cup-and-olympics