Tag Archive | "figure skating"

Coca-Cola Live Positively Awards, Vancouver 2010

This past Tuesday I was invited to attend the Coca-Cola Live Positively Awards, held during the 2010 Olympic Games at the BC Media Center in Vancouver.

“Live Positively” represents The Coca-Cola Company‘s philosophical approach to building sustainable communities through initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where it operates. The Live Positively concept grew from the recognition that sustainable growth for The Coca-Cola Company is integrally connected to both its business and its marketing success, as well as its societal role.

The Coca-Cola Company is honouring individuals, families and organizations with the Coca-Cola Live Positively Award during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Each recipient was chosen because of his or her efforts to turn their passion for improving the well-being of Canadians into important changes that have positively impacted their local communities. With a focus on either active living or environmental sustainability, each recipient has a unique and inspirational story to share.

The following were honoured on Tuesday afternoon:

Jennifer Heil & Dominick Gauthier – on behalf of B2ten:

B2ten is a not for profit organization that supports Canadian elite athletes so they may succeed at the highest level of international competition. For more information, visit http://www.b2ten.com/.

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

Sami Jo Small:

Sami Jo is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the 2009 recipient of the Athletes CAN Leadership Award. Sami Jo is also the co-founder of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Her commitment to sport and her involvement in developing the Canadian Women’s Hockey League has helped create a forum for women across the country to participate in our nation’s sport at an elite level.

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

Canadian Olympic School Project:

The Olympic School Program is the Canadian Olympic Committee’s primary education program aiming to spread the positive message of the Olympic Games to all students between grades 2-12. The organization has been providing teachers with Olympic Games themed resources for over 20 years.

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

Posted in Featured, Vancouver 2010, Venues, photosComments (1)

Mindy Shoppe Has Her Eyes On The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

Here’s a cool article from the Gwinnett Daily Post in Gwinnett County, Georgia about Mindy Shoppe who hopes to compete in the Olympics in figure skating in 2010. Mindy, get in touch if you want to blog here about your training and preperation leading up to the Games. :)

Mindy Shoppe is a young girl with a big dream — to figure skate in the 2010 Olympics.

Skater’s quest for gold involves whole family


By Shelley Mann

Staff Writer


At 6 a.m. on a recent sweltering Thursday, 14-year-old Mindy Shoppe
climbed out of bed and pulled on thick tights and a heavy jacket.
By 7:30 a.m., she was shivering on the ice rink, stretching out her
muscles and readying for a morning and afternoon full of double axels,
triple lutzes and flips.

Mindy is a young girl with a big dream — to figure skate in the 2010
Olympics. It’s been the Grayson eighth-grader’s goal ever since, as an
impressionable 7-year-old, she watched Tara Lipinski win the gold.

She’s already given up a lot for her goal. Last year, she dropped out
of McConnell Middle School and opted for an online home schooling
program that allows more time to practice skating.

Her days — every day, even in the summer — consist of four hours of
skating, two hours of off-ice aerobics and strength training, then
school work and sleep. She can’t eat junk food or stay up late. Her
free time is spent catching up on homework or exercising.

Coach Aren Nielsen, a former silver-medal winner at the national level,
has been working with Mindy for five years. She’s got the talent to
make it to the Olympics, he says. And she’s certainly got the

She’s already performed in high-profile events such as Champions on Ice
at Philips Arena and has been asked to skate during intermission at a
Gwinnett Gladiators game.

But the challenge has been trying to find the money to fund the
expensive sport. Parents Jeff and Kathy Shoppe have already maxed out
credit cards and refinanced their home to pay for the nearly $40,000 in
annual costs. To make it to the next level, both parents and coach
Nielsen agree, Mindy needs to find a financial backer.

Follow the money

More money means more coaches, more competitions and more name
recognition. It means Mindy could meet with her sports psychologist,
who helps keep her head straight through the high-pressure world of
competition, every other month rather than twice a year.

Nielsen compares the costs involved to NASCAR racing — there’s no way
an average guy who wants to race at NASCAR could pay for his own car
and racing team. Similarly, most families can’t afford the annual costs
associated with figure skating.

Mindy pays $2,000 a year for custom-sewn dresses, individualized for
her long and short routines. Another $2,000 goes toward skates, blades
and other equipment. But the majority of the money pays for coaching
fees, ice time and travel costs.

The key to being chosen for the Olympic team is creating buzz, and
people can’t start talking about Mindy until she starts making a name
for herself at competitions.

“There is still some politicking in skating. We need to send her to
events to get her noticed,�? Nielsen said. “If she gets out and gets
noticed, the judges know to look for Mindy Shoppe.�?

Young skaters who grow up in “skating towns,�? in colder states such as
Michigan, Colorado and Delaware, usually have better luck finding
patrons than those in places like Atlanta, which is most definitely not
a skating town. Mindy practices at the Duluth Ice Forum, the only ice
rink in Gwinnett and one of just three in metro Atlanta.

The Shoppes are working hard to market their daughter to potential
donors. They cashed in on a favor from a friend who works in a public
relations firm to work up a color pamphlet and promotional video
touting Mindy. The publicity materials are meant to woo possible

Although some skaters find companies to back them, most rely on
individual donors. They’re usually former skaters or figure-skating
aficionados who understand the high costs involved.

“It’s frustrating for us as parents because we’ve invested all we can,�?
Jeff Shoppe said. “People have told us, ‘If you don’t have the money,
you should just stop,’ But we’re not going to, not as long as she wants

Path to the gold

Mindy tried gymnastics and soccer before settling on figure skating,
and she said she loved skating from the first time she set foot on the
ice. She’s loved winning ever since she came in first at her very first
competition. At 5 years old, she didn’t really understand what “first�?
meant, but she knew she wanted it.

“That’s where it started,�? Mindy said.

Since then, she’s never wavered in her passion for skating. Dad Jeff
has told Mindy that if he ever has to come in and drag her out of bed
for skating practice, then it’s over. It hasn’t been a problem yet.

Most of Mindy’s friends are fellow figure skaters she knows from her
rink or from competitions.

Jeff and Kathy Shoppe have also tailored their schedules to Mindy’s
skating. Jeff drops her off at the rink first thing in the morning, and
Kathy, bundled in a sweater and thick pants, arrives later to sit on
the cold metal bleachers and watch Mindy skate.

The Shoppes’ fourth-grade son is also involved in baseball, but not
nearly as heavily. Two older children, former cheerleaders, are in
college now.

Even with enough money, making it to the Olympics is even harder than
it sounds. First, skaters have to finish among the top four skaters
during one of nine regional championships. The top three finalists from
the next round, sectionals, go on to a national championship. And only
the top three national winners have a chance to be picked by the
Olympic committee.

But before Mindy can even compete at the regional level, she has to
master the jumps and techniques of the novice level she currently
competes at and move up to the senior or champion level.

“The road to the Olympics is usually a lot longer than people think,�?
Nielson said. “You have that stereotype story of the mom driving the
kid two hours each way every day, but that’s actually true. It’s an up
and downhill battle to get to that point.�?

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