Olympic hopeful helps out hometown skating club | PostIndependent.com

Olympic hopeful helps out hometown skating club

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colo. – “The road to the Olympics starts here … at the Aspen Skating Club.”That’s the sign that greets skaters outside the rink at the Ice Garden in Aspen.Jeremy Abbott is the reason for the sign.The Aspen-born figure skater is a Junior U.S. Champion, a title he earned in 2005.Now he is training with his mind set on one thing – the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada.Growing up as a member of the Aspen Skate Club, Jeremy got his skating roots on Aspen ice. Abbott has since moved to Colorado Springs, where he competes as a member of the prestigious Broadmoor Skate Club with numerous coaches and choreographers dedicated to helping him reach the Olympics.

The 21-year-old has won countless competitions around the world, including the Finlandia Trophy this year. Even with all he’s accomplished, Abbott has found time to give something back to his home skating club. In May 2005, Abbott established a fund for boys skating competitively for the ASC. Skating in a show at the Aspen Recreation Center, Abbott donated all the fees for the program to funding club dues for eligible skaters. Families can also request additional assistance with competition fees, skates, lessons, costuming and other costs of competitive skating.”I know how hard it was, and is, for my family to keep me skating, and the Aspen Skate Club is where I got my start,” he said. “They have always been great to me, so I just wanted to give back in any way that I could.” Growing up in a town known mostly for things other than figure skating, Abbott knows the struggles young male figure skaters go through.”The biggest (challenge) was the teasing. When you’re growing up, kids will try to find any reason to make fun of you,” Abbott said. “Being a figure skater in a hockey town was reason enough, I guess.”

When Abbott comes home to Aspen, he stops by to see the boys he has helped. One of those is Alan Bellio of Silt. Abbott helps Bellio edit his music for free skate programs, has given him some of his old outfits and has even invited Bellio to be a guest skater with him during a show, in addition to assisting him with his donations to the fund.”He is so great with the kids,” said Teri Hooper, the head coach of the Aspen Skate Club. “He’s such a great inspiration for them to watch and see, and he is a wonderful role model for these kids.”Bellio and his classmates at Roy Moore Elementary created a large card for Abbott when he traveled to compete in Finland in October. Abbott said that meant a lot to him, and Bellio thought it brought him good luck.”I drew him doing a spiral in one of his old outfits,” Bellio said of his contribution to the card. “It was supposed to be a lot of good luck, and then he won.”

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