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that I’ve competed, I reported a loss most years. When it takes an average yearly income to just support your skating, knowing you are at the most important moment of your life, you defi - nitely just want to focus on that performance and not worry if Mom and Dad are going to be able to get there. You just want to know that they are there.”


COUNT ON FAMILY Adam Rippon and Christina Gao are two skaters who have positioned themselves to be serious contenders for Olympic berths, and to have the support of the Destination Sochi™ Fam- ily Tree Program would help them greatly at the Games, they said.

Rippon, the 2012 U.S. silver medalist, is the oldest of six siblings and has fi nanced his own skating career for many years. “If I were to make the team, it would be such a huge help because my mom is a single mom, and it would be really hard for her to get to the Games,” Rippon said. “Just knowing that there would be a way for her to get there and for her to see me compete, it would mean a lot to me and to my family.”

Rippon, 23, said when he was younger that

Ladwig was able to savor his greatest athletic achievement with his family at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Ladwig said two-time U.S. pairs champi-

on John Coughlin has said many times that his greatest comfort at competition was being able to go out in his warm-up, look around, and see his family.

Ladwig, like most skaters with an Olympic Evora and Ladwig bask in their Olympic moment.

dream, knows all about the sacrifi ce and cost as- sociated with this line of work. At his home rink in Ellenton, Fla., Ladwig, who is married with a 3-year-old son, has per- formed virtually every job imaginable, including sharpening skates and driving the Zamboni. It’s no secret, he said, that it costs a lot of money to chase the dream. “On my tax return I’m listed as a profes- sional skater,” Ladwig said. “Out of the 10 years

his mom didn’t want him to worry about the fi - nances of skating, but as he got older he realized what a burden it was. “My mom has probably been the most in-

fl uential person in my skating life and life in general,” Rippon said. “For her to be able to be there, that’s why I think this is such a great pro- gram.” One of the perks for supporters of the Fami-

ly Tree Program is receiving a personalized thank- you letter from the Olympic hopefuls. It’s also something special for Rippon. “It gives you a chance to get closer to the

people who are supporting you and know that they come from such a giving place,” Rippon said. “It really makes you feel that people are be- hind you 100 percent.” Gao, the 2012 silver medalist at Skate

America, said support from the Family Tree Pro- gram would allow her to focus on skating, know- ing that her family is being taken care of. “As the season goes on it gets pretty over-

Adam Rippon has enjoyed the overwhelming support over the years of his fi ve siblings and mother, Kelly.


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