Skip to comments.Olympic champion Cheek donates prize money to Darfur
Posted on 02/14/2006 11:19:41 AM PST by Pyro7480
Olympic champion Cheek donates prize money to Darfur
TURIN, Italy (AFP) - US speedskater Joey Cheek credited his decision to donate any prize money from a Winter Olympic gold medal to a Sudanese relief project with helping him capture the 500m title Monday.
Cheek will donate the 25,000 dollars he will receive from the US Olympic Committee for his victory to "Right to Play", an athlete-driven charity organization, with the money earmarked for the battle-ravaged Darfur region.
"I knew if I ever did something like this, I wanted to be able to give something back," Cheek said. "The best way I can say thanks is to donate my money to help somebody else."
Cheek, who will ask each of his handful of sponsors to donate money as well, skated the two best 500m races of his career to win gold in a combined time of 1:09.76, beating runner-up Dmitry Dorofeyev by .65 of a second.
"I don't know how I skated that fast," Cheek said. "At some level, it's empowering to think about someone other than yourself. It's right that I help some people get the chance that I have had.
"We athletes are superstitious, goofy people," Cheek said. "It's kind of absurd. I've trained my whole life for this but I am skating around in a skintight suit. It's a little ridiculous.
"I can take the time to sit up here and gush or I can do something worthwhile."
The humanitarian crisis in Darfur has claimed between 180,000 and 300,000 lives, and displaced more than two million people.
Cheek's role model is former Norwegian speedskater Johan-Olaf Koss, who made a similar contribution in 1994 when the program was called Olympic Aid.
"The things he has done for other people have been an inspiration for me," Cheek said. "It's my hope that I can assist some people and walk in his large shoes."
Cheek had the plan in mind after meeting with Right to Play leaders in the Olympic Village this week.
"I have been kind of plotting this in my head. I wanted to be prepared if the stars aligned," Cheek said. "They have got a great program and they have done a lot of good."
Cheek said he plans to visit Darfur in a couple of months and might petition the US State Department to allow more US funds for relief work.
But his plan to see the region where 60,000 children are among the homeless might have to wait.
"I heard today the situation has destabilized and it might not be safe for aid workers to go into villages," he said.
Cheek, 26, will skate the 1,000m but retire after the Olympics and attend college. He applied to Harvard but was rejected.
"I've been out of school for 10 years so they were a little concerned I wouldn't be able to read a sentence." Cheek joked.
I was unaware that there was cash prize money connected to Olympic medals.
Not directly, but the national committee gives it to them.
Interesting. Then good on Cheek.
Ol Avey Bundridge(sp?) must be spinning in his grave.
That's why it ain't the Olympics anymore. There's no such thing as amateur standing.
I think it's a shame that it has come to this.
Must admit I haven't watched a lick of the Olympics. What kind of "overnights" are the Games getting?
I couldn't agree more.
We will never experience another victory like the 1980 men's hockey team.
BTW, I've watched about ten minutes of the Olympics so far -- saw Cheek's first run, but didn't bother staying around for the second.
Now THAT was exciting and wonderful. And patriotic!
I remember the Rome Games in 1960 when Wilma Rudolph performed so fantastically. That was more than sport. It was historic and a terrific example for all of us.
Now we see athletes who spend their entire lives getting ready for these games - and little else.
Notice how the teams march into stadiums these days? They walk in like they're a bunch of tourists who've never seen the joint before. Years ago, all the teams used to march in, and smartly at that. There was a certain elegance and dash to that. It would make you proud of your country. Not anymore. It's "I'm here for me...the Hell with everything else."
The athlete mentioned in this thread is obviously the exception who makes the rule. Good for him.
Magnaminity old Dear.
Please wait your turn for the Champion's moment in the Sun.
No matter how we all may agree on the subject you advocate for, yours is the equivalent to "has Mr. Cheney submitted his resignation?" at the WH press conference yesterday. As the spokesman aptly replied: "That's an absurd thing to utter ".
Lest you be dubbed the"Turin David Gregory".
Different countries have been giving their * winners * money, lodging, jobs, royalties...
This has been going on for decades, nothing new under the sun.
I lost interest in the Olympics for a few cycles after (our) pros were permitted. When I remembered that they are the very best in the world at some athletic skill, I decided to enjoy them as they are. No one can accomplish what these skaters, skiiers, etc. do unless he is unbelievably talented and dedicated to training.
And there was never a "professional athlete" from a communist country, either. In spite of the fact that they were being paid by their government to be an athlete.
The whole conceit of "amateur" athletes was always a very Victorian-era class-driven phenomenon, allowing "gentlemen of means" to compete against each other without having to deal with the riff-raff who might be better, but whose "integrity" as athletes had been compromised because they weren't rich and had to make a living.
The Turin David Gregory?
Thanks for the advice, I feel better now.
>>We will never experience another victory like the 1980 men's hockey team<<
Ya got that right!!!!!!!
I was a teenager and remember being in tears with that win!!
OUR TRUE AMATUERS beat their pros and during the COLD WAR.
That was wonderful.
I have been turned off by the group sports ever since Olympic Basketball went pro.
>>OUR TRUE AMATUERS beat their pros and during the COLD WAR.<<
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