Wow! Incredible -- but WE'RE NOT DONE YET to get Blake the full $33k he needs!
Thank you to everyone who has, in the first 36 hours, put us over our minimum goal! It has taken the entire community to do this, so thank you!
Our ultimate goal has always been the full $33k that Blake needs to compete at his highest level in the World Cups and the Winter Olympics. Please continue to spread the word on this campaign, and let's get Blake every penny he needs!
Help send openly gay speed skater Blake Skjellerup to Sochi Olympics!
Despite Russia's new anti-gay laws, the calls to move the Winter Olympics from Sochi have fallen on deaf ears. The IOC has said waving of rainbow flags -- or any pro-LGBT commentary -- by Olympians could violate its rules. Seemingly every avenue to make a statement of LGBT-rights support at the Olympic Games is being cut off.
But there's one message they cannot stop: Openly gay speed skater Blake Skjellerup!
The LGBT community and its allies have an opportunity to support this openly gay athlete and send him to the Olympic Games as our out, proud representative! That's why the You Can Play project, Outsports, GLAAD, the StandUp Foundation, Out magazine & The Advocate, Athlete Ally, and many members of the LGBT sports movement and the larger community are getting behind this fundraising campaign to send Blake all of the resources he needs in the next few months to once again qualify for the Winter Olympics and to perform at his highest level in Sochi!
Blake needs our help. Despite some misconceptions, Olympic speed skaters aren't flush with funds. He lives with family and commutes an hour each way on a train every day to his training center to save money.
To qualify for the Olympics and compete at his highest level, he needs resources he doesn't have access to at this time. And we -- the LGBT community and our allies -- can give them to him and make him the inspiration of the worldwide LGBT community at the Winter Olympics in Sochi!
Why Blake needs our support now
Despite what many may think, Olympic speed skaters do not live in posh apartments sipping champagne. When asked what it means financially to be an Olympic speed skater, Blake said, "bankruptcy." He struggles just to cover living costs. What he needs help with now is the funds to access key coaching assistance for the World Cups and the Olympics.
For Blake to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, he will need to finish in the top 32 at the World Cups this autumn. These four key events are:
Sept. 26-29, Shanghai, China
Oct. 3-6, Seoul, South Korea
Nov. 7-10, Torino, Italy
Nov. 14-17, Kolomna, Russia
Blake needs at least $15k to compete at a high level in these four World Cup events and qualify for the Sochi Olympics. To get everything he needs to compete at his HIGHEST level possible, he will need at $33k. We've set the campaign goal at the MINIMUM he needs with the hope and expectation that we can get him EVERYTHING he needs. All donated funds go directly to Blake.
The funds will all be put to resources that will give Blake his best shot at qualifying for the Olympic Games and winning a medal in Sochi! Those 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.
With our support, he will qualify for these Sochi Olympic Games and be a beacon of hope for LGBT people in Russia and around the world!
By donating to Blake's fund, not only do you get to contribute to this unique openly gay Winter Olympian's chances of medaling in the Sochi Games, but you can get some GREAT perks as well.
Even if you have just $10-$50 to spare, you will be thanked publicly by the LGBT Sports Coalition and Blake himself. Every dollar will help get Blake critical resources, and the entire movement will be thankful to you for your contribution!
One of the very special perks available is a postcard to you, handwritten and signed by Blake, and postmarked from the Olympic Village in Sochi!* Receiving the postcard from the openly gay Olympian will be an incredible memento for you from these Games. You get this priceless memento (and other perks) with a $200 donation.
If you'd like the chance to talk with Blake personally, for just $1,000 you will get several gifts from Blake -- including the above-mentioned post card -- in addition to a personal Skype video chat with the Olympian! It will be your chance to talk with Blake personally, ask him about his Olympic experiences and share your thoughts with him.
And if you're a corporation or organization that would like its logo on Blake's uniform at all four World Cups, become an official sponsor of Blake! For just $5k your company or organization can be an official part of TEAM BLAKE with a 45cm (about 17") squared logo on his World Cup uniform. For just $10k, you'll place a 250cm (about 98") squared logo on his uniform. It's an incredible opportunity to show support for LGBT athletes and people around the world!
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that, in these hard economic times, not everyone has the resources to contribute financially to Blake's fund. You can still help! Be part of the campaign to send Blake to Sochi and compete for a medal by:
- Spreading the world about this campaign. Email friends and share on social media like Facebook & Twitter.
- Using the Indiegogo share tools. They're there to help!
And that’s all there is to it.
*This perk assumes he qualifies for the Olympic Games. If he does not, the postmark will be from his home or training center.
Organizations backing this fundraising campaign include:
You Can Play project
It Gets Better Project
Federation of Gay Games
Pride House International
Special thanks to media who have promoted this campaign!