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Funding an Olympic Dream - Words: Krysytna Chauncey
Wednesday October 16, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

The Ski Cross racer Emily Sarsfield has the talent, the qualification points and the commitment to represent Team GB at Sochi. What she does not have is the money. She gets no official funding and has to raise it all herself.

In some ways Emily is currently as much a full-time finance raiser as an athlete.

She's on the road to Sochi and yet, she's a bob or two short to get her to the Winter Olympic Games next February. 

Her latest quest for cash took place this week at the Profeet footwear shop in Fulham as she gave a talk about her potential; and her problems.

She also unveiled details of how people can help her and win some fantastic prizes too.

Her intro was inspriring; Emily Sarsfield - Britain's No 1 Ski Cross athlete, 8 times British champ and unbeatable in domestic competition she is enroute for the Olympic Games in Sochi. 

More to the point she could be a medal contender - with enough support.

Emily in actionEmily in action (photo credit Daniel Smye-Rumsby)












emily SarsfieldEmily Sarsfield














Emily spoke to us about her personal journey to Sochi, its costs and the training she has already done on the Sochi course.

What surprised us, is that Emily trains with the Polish Ski Cross Team, and whilst she's training with some great athletes and coaches no doubt her Polish is improving daily.

She also commented that the Russians, currently being trained by former Austria coach, Mario Rafetzeder, are the ones to look out for on home territory.

"The track is one of the most difficult on the world calendar, but more interesting … I think the skiers will like it,” said FIS freestyle coordinator, Joseph Fitzgerald, in February 2012. 

Builders sketch of Sochi Ski Cross TrackBuilders sketch of Sochi Ski Cross Track

















The video below gives us a clear view of the jumps, bumps, curves and turns on the way down the proposed Sochi course.

It was taken by one of Emily's Polish friends, Karolina on her Go pro camera.

It's quite a course.

So, why does she receive no funding?

It is simple really.

The UK sporting  authorites look at the past Olympic success of the sport in question and then the likelihood of medal success of an athlete judged on a strict criteria of past performance and current standing.

It is all about points and World Cup standings.

Limited funding is allocated on medal chances.  Britian's Number One female alpine skier, Chemmy Alcott, has competed in 3 Olympics but now she receives nothing and many of our skiers are struggling.

The only ones that recieve any are the stars of the freestyle team as they have genuine medal potential.

The rest of the Winter Olympic funding goes to the curling team, the luge athletes, bobsleigh and skating.

Of course it al becomes a bit chicken-and-egg as without funding athletes can not become medal hopefuls, but without being real medal hopefuls they don't receive any financial backing.

Olympic hopefulOlympic hopeful

















So Emily has decided to be positive.

She needs funds and is appealing to you.

"I am holding a raffle to try to raise some of the much needed funds I need, to get me to Sochi. Tickets are £10 and you could have the chance of winning some amazing prizes and you will have directly helped me on my journey to Sochi," she said.

So what could you win for your £10?.

* Ski Weekends is offering a ski holiday for 2.

* A pair of Head Skis and bindings (valued at approx £700)

* Profeet Ski Boots fitted to your feet (valued at approx £700)

* £250 worth of Dare2B Clothing

* Oakley Limited Edition Tour de France Sunglasses

* And for Middlesborough Football Fans - the chance to own a signed football shirt by the entire Middlesborough football team.

* And there's more (full prize detail see here)

Buying raffle tickets is a simple process. To support Emily simply click on this link

Your contribution will make a difference. 

One of her current supporters is Profeet, where the event was held.

"When you spend most days in your ski boots comfort as well as race performance is critical. I trust all my boot fitting to Profeet. They work closely with my boot sponsor Head, modify the shell and make me a custom foam liner to make sure the fit is perfect for accuracy and of course comfy to keep me smiling!" she said.

PlanetSKI has been following Emily and we recorded the interview below before she took part in a yacht race round the Isle of Wight with another of her sponsors, Skiweekends.

For the spirit of the mountains

Hautes Pyrenees




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