Supporting Alaska’s next medalist (Olympics)

November 29, 2011

In Europe, Winter Olympians are household names.

Here they work at Home Depot.

That’s probably why the U.S. went eight decades [1932 to 2010] before winning another medal count at the Winter Games.

Regardless, few states have pulled their weight quite like Alaska when it comes to producing Winter Olympians. The state’s legacy is longer than the Iditarod.

It’s why the Alaska Winter Olympians Foundation was founded.

In 1992 a group of former and current athletes – such as Rosey Fletcher, Rachel Steer, Lars Flora, Kikkan Randall, Adam Verrier and more – created the AWOF to support, promote and develop aspiring Olympians.

“We made a short video to highlight the athletes who are ‘Striving for Sochi 2014’ and to inspire up-and-coming athletes who have winter Olympic aspirations,” Steer told me. “We just posted the video and our 2011-2012 grant application on the AWOF Facebook page.”

[Girdwood 2020 has a similar fund called GoForGold, which awards grants to all athletes in all Olympic disciplines, winter and summer]

Steer, a two-time Olympian [’02, ‘06] in biathlon, has joined other Olympians such as Fletcher [’98, ’02, ’06 snowboarding], Pam Dreyer [’06, hockey] and Alex Wilson [’98 free skiing-moguls] in giving the AWOF grant process a new look with three level:

> Gold Grant: for current Olympians
> Silver Grant: for development level athletes [19 & older]
> Bronze Grant: for development level athletes [18 & younger]

The AWOF application deadline is Dec. 15 and grant winners will be announced Jan. 2.