Fundraiser aims to send athletes to Olympics | ParkRecord.com

Fundraiser aims to send athletes to Olympics

National squads team up to host event at Jeremy Ranch

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

Park City native Sarah Hendrickson goes off a jump at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Hendrickson and the rest of the Womens Ski Jumping USA team will hold a fundraiser at Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club on Wednesday, July 26.

From the outside looking in, it may not seem like winter sport Olympic athletes struggle financially, but that simply isn't the case.

There's a select few athletes who, between winning titles and earning sponsorships, are well off. But the majority of those attempting to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang feel that finding their way to that point is almost more difficult than being physically prepared, said Amy Macuga.

The Women's Ski Jumping USA and USA Nordic Sport teams want to help their athletes raise funds and have joined forces to host the Dream USA 2018 Gala.

"The cost of just qualifying is overwhelming," Macuga, event volunteer, said. "A lot of these events are over in Europe. The back and forth to Europe and all the cost associated with it [can add up]. This money goes straight to the athletes to fund their dream. It's a huge help."

The event — which will have silent and live auctions that will take place at Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club on Wednesday, July 26 — came to fruition after the women's ski jumping team hosted its own fundraiser last year at the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City.

It raised roughly $40,000, Macuga said, which was good enough reason for USA Nordic Sport to jump on board.

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"The team needs funds," Macuga said. "It's an Olympic year, so we decided to do it again, and what we're doing this year is combining with the men's team, USA Nordic. I think it's added more help and volunteers [and] additional energy in having the men's team there."

Last year's fundraiser came about when one of the women's ski jumping team's coaches, Alan Alborn told Macuga that without a certain amount of money, the team could die. Behind Macuga's efforts, as well as the efforts of others involved in the program, the fundraiser was not only born but was a success, Macuga said.

By adding the USA Nordic Sport team, the hope is the fundraiser will not only duplicate last year's earnings but exceed them. Thanks to the support the teams receive in Park City, breaking the $40,000 mark from a year ago should be no problem, Macuga added.

"It's incredible what Park City does," the volunteer continued. "We know there are fundraisers every weekend, but the support from the Park City community is amazing. The businesses I've asked for donations for auction items have been wonderful."

Some of the items up for auction will be a dinner made by Dar Hendrickson, a longtime Park City Ski Team coach, and the opportunity to go skate skiing with the U.S. men's Nordic team.

With the annual Spring Tournee coming up, the fundraiser comes at a perfect time for the two teams. Excitement is beginning to gather in the area just half a year away from another Winter Olympics, so the team needs to ensure — through the Dream USA 2018 Gala — it'll be able to make it there.

"We're just so grateful," Macuga said. "We're grateful to the Jeremy Ranch Golf Course for helping us out, as well as the whole community endeavor [to help us]."

The Dream USA 2018 Gala will take place on Wednesday, July 26, and is scheduled to go from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club.