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In addition to the Family Tree Pro-

gram, Destination Sochi™ features the $20.14 Program. This fundraising initiative supports

Team USA while enhancing the opportu- nities of aspiring Olympians by bolster- ing U.S. Figure Skating’s many develop- mental programs. Show your support today with a

tax-deductible pledge of $20.14 per month for 14 months (payments to be completed by June 30, 2014) and experi- ence the Olympic journey like never be- fore. Total gift amounts to $281.96. Gifts

may be made in monthly installments or as a one-time payment. With a gift, you will receive the offi -

cial Destination Sochi™ trading pin, a per- sonalized thank-you letter from a former U.S. Figure Skating Olympian, a monthly e-newsletter, acknowledgment in SKAT- ING magazine, an invitation to a private Destination Sochi™ reception and more. To make your pledge today, and

for a full description of participa- tion requirements and benefi ts, visit and click on the $20.14 Program tab.

international events and will be there in Sochi helping Team USA reach its potential. Millier, a former ice dancer who was there as a team leader for Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s fi rst-ever competition, has witnessed how an athlete’s focus can become blurred at a competition. “I’ve seen how distractions can derail a

skater,” he said. “And the last thing we need at a Games is a distraction.” T e Destination Sochi™ programs, he said,

“mean everything.” “It goes beyond just helping fi nancially,”

whelming with the outside pressures and every- thing,” Gao, 19, said. “Training becomes real hard. You work so hard for it that you don’t want anything else in the way. Having the comfort that your family is taken care of allows you to focus on your business.” Gao’s parents and younger sister likely would attend the Games in Sochi if she qualifi es, she said, adding that her grandparents in China may also attend.

AVOIDING DISTRACTIONS John Millier has been a U.S. team leader at four World Championships, countless other

Christina Gao is grateful for the support behind the Destination Sochi Program. She hopes that her family can share in her Olympic dream next year.

Millier said. “I just think being there for the par- ents and helping them with logistics and other things like that so skaters don’t have to worry goes a long way. It’s a great program.” One of Millier’s primary responsibilities is keeping the athletes focused on their job. “T at’s really what it’s all about, getting them back into their training mode, thinking about the things that they have control over. “We are lucky that we were able to trav- el with Alex Cohen, who is the United States Olympic Committee psychologist, at Worlds this year. He’ll be part of the team in Sochi. He’s been a great help as well, even counseling us on how to get their focus back to where it needs to be.” Heading into the 2013 World Champion- ships in London, Ontario, Canada, Millier and co-team leader Doug Williams took a team ap- proach with their athletes. T ey set up a team conference call and worked on team-building exercises. “We are trying to get kids to realize that if

they are faced with a challenge that comes up now, and then they get through it, it is sort of in their toolbox,” Millier said. “T ey know the next time it happens, ‘Oh, I got this. I don’t have to worry about it.’ It’s kind of getting them to realize that adversities now only strengthen them as compet- itors in the future. I think so many of them rose to the occasion. I was really proud of that team, especially being so new.”

30 JUNE/JULY 2013

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