In partnership with Gatorade, 23 individuals and three teams each received financial support ranging from $2,500 to $5,500 to help provide financial fuel to future Olympic and World Champions…and beyond. Who are they and how will they use their grant to become the best? Read on:
Natalie Vie, Phoenix, AZ, Fencing
Natalie Vie is a fencer from Arizona. She is currently ranked 8th in the U.S. and was the fourth alternate for the Women’s National Team at the 2012 Olympic Games. Competing in the senior women’s epee, Vie was the highest American finisher at the 2010 World Cup event in Germany. In U.S. Fencing, there are 12 tournaments a year in which athletes can compete so that they can accumulate enough points to qualify for the U.S. National Team. Vie intends to use these funds to pay for domestic and international tournament travel expenses.
Emily Azevedo, Chico, CA, Bobsled
Emily Azevedo is a bobsledder from California. As a member of the U.S. National Team, she won the gold medal at the Bobsled World Championships (2012). Azevedo plans on using these funds to travel to Canada and train at the only indoor iced push facility in North America to help improve all aspects of her push technique leading up to the Olympic Winter Games.
US Women’s National Water Polo Team, Huntington Beach, CA, Water Polo
The US Women’s Water polo team has medaled in the last four Olympic Games, including a gold medal in the London Olympic Games. The team has seen several women’s water polo stars emerge, including goalie Betsey Armstrong, who was named Female Water Polo Player of the Year (2009) and Brenda Villa who was named Female Water Polo Player of the Decade by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Magazine (2010). This grant will allow the team to travel overseas to train against other teams in preparation for major competitions, which will also help developing athletes gain international experience.
Erica McLain, Mountain View, CA, Track & Field
Erica McLain is a USA Track & Field star who has accomplished a lot throughout her career on the National team, including making the Olympic team in 2008. McLain has been ranked in the top 20 in the world and has been named a USATF Tier II athlete, and has won several titles, including being named the USA Track & Field Indoor and Outdoor National Triple Jump Champion (2010). A grant from WSF will help to alleviate the stress that comes from not knowing how she is going to afford the competitive opportunities and physical therapies necessary to make her athletic dreams, including making another Olympic team, become a reality.
Elizabeth Newell, Oakland, CA, Cycling
Elizabeth Newell is a cycler from California. Her career highlights include a third place finish at the Pan American Continental Cycling Championships (2012) and a first place finish at the Elite Track National Championships (2011). Newell’s plans for these funds include travel expenses and entry fees for track cycling races, including the US national championships and international competitions, as well as the costs of needed equipment for competitions.
Jessica Radmilovic, Pine Grove, CA, Waterskiing
Jessica Radmilovic, a disabled water skier from California, won a gold medal in the tricks and jump at the Disabled Water Ski World Championships (2009) and a gold medal in the slalom at the Disabled Water Ski World Championships (2011). Radmilovic intends to utilize the grant funds to train for and compete at the Disabled Water Ski World Championships in Milan, Italy, in 2013.
Rachael Heiden, Colorado Springs, CO, Shooting
Rachel Heiden is a shooter from Colorado Springs. As a member of the USA Shooting Junior National Champion team, she achieved a first place finish in the Individual Trap Women competition at the Slovenia World Cup (2011). As a 2012 Olympic contender, Heiden incurred the expenses of hiring a personal coach, flight, hotel, and miscellaneous training costs. Looking toward the 2016 Olympic Games, she will continue to have those expenses, as well as international competition costs. Heiden plans to use these Travel & Training funds to cover travel expenses for international competitions as well as training matches in the United States.
Liz Podominick, Colorado Springs, CO, Track & Field
Liz Podominick is a discus thrower from Colorado. She finished second place at the Tucson Elite Throwers Classic (2012) and first place at the Oregon Twilight (2012). As a post-collegiate athlete who hopes to be a lifelong participant in women’s sports, Podominick plans to use these funds to advance her throwing career to the international level and like generations before her, use her experiences to help advance and positively influence the next generation of female athletes.
Amy Sowash, Colorado Springs, CO, Shooting
Amy Sowash is a shooter from Colorado. Her titles include the USA Shooting Anschutz Trophy (2010) and the silver medal at the Top Gun Final Ohio (2012). Sowash will use Travel & Training grant funds to cover her most pressing needs, which include a new set of shooting leathers, an electronic target, and the costs of travel to outdoor ranges and international competitions, such as the Bundesliga German league matches.
USA Women’s Boxing National Team, Colorado Springs, CO, Boxing
Members of the USA Women’s Boxing National Team compete as amateur boxers in the United States and internationally. USA Boxing sent several women to the U.S. Olympic Trials, with two qualifying to compete at the London Olympic Games, one of whom won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. USA Boxing intends to use these funds to provide travel and training expense relief to members of the Women’s Boxing National Team.
Alexandra Lauretano, Windermere, FL, Waterskiing
Alexandra Laurentano is a water skier from Florida. Her major accomplishments include being named the Collegiate Athlete of the Year (2010), the Collegiate National Trick and Jump record holder, and the gold medalist in the Team and the Women’s tricks and overall at the FISU World University Water Ski Championships (2012). She plans on using these grant funds to allow the World Overall Champion to train with her, and for the costs of traveling to international competitions.
Megan Hill, Woodstock, GA, Bobsled
Megan Hill is a bobsledder from California. She recently broke onto the international scene with a series of top 10 finishes at the Europa Cup, including a silver medal at the Europa Cup event in Switzerland (2011). Hill plans on using her Travel & Training grant funds to purchase the equipment necessary to be competitive during the 2012-2013 season, and to support the costs of training, fees, dues, and travel to National Team Trials and races, which will help her reach her goal of representing the USA at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Kristin Hedstrom, Concord, MA, Rowing
Kristin Hedstrom is a rower from Massachusetts. As the youngest lightweight woman in U.S. history to make the Olympic class boat, she finished 6th with Team USA at the FISA World Cup in Belgrade and 4th at the FISA World Cup in Luzern (2012). Hedstrom will use Travel & Training grant funds to afford the costs of her equipment and travel for competitions, which will allow her to continue competing internationally beyond this summer.
Amy McGuire, Kingfield, ME, Cycling
Amy McGuire is a cycler from Maine. McGuirewas recently upgraded to a category 1 USA cycler, the highest ranking for any female cyclist in the United States, and finished third at the Tucson Bicycle Classic (2011). McGuire will use the grant to partially fund the costs of racing the full National Road and Criterium Calendars as well as select international events (race travel, winter training, and mental skills coaching fees).
Maia Shibutani, Ann Arbor, MI, Figure Skating
Maia Shibutani is a figure skater from Michigan. She won the Professional Skaters Association (PSA)’s “Edi Award” for Ice Dance (2011) and was the first U.S. ice dancer to medal during her debut appearance at the World Figure Skating Championships since 1958. The Travel &Training funds will be used to support the costs of training with a specialist in Japanese traditional dance in support of her choreography for the primary competitive program.
Ashley Steenvoorden, East Brunswick, NJ, Swimming
Ashley Steenvoorden is a swimmer from New Jersey. As a member of the US National Team, she finished in the top 10 at the Pan American Games in the 400m freestyle (2011). Steenvoorden just completed her four years eligibility for college swimming and plans to use the funds to cover the costs of her postgraduate travel and competition.
Hannah Martin, Burnt Hills, NY, Judo
Hannah Martin is a judoka from New York. She won a gold medal at the 2011 U.S. Open, a bronze medal in the 2011 Matsumae Cup, and a gold medal at the 2012 Pedro’s Judo Challenge. Martin intends to use these funds to travel and compete in World International Judo Competitions that will help her to qualify for a spot on the next World Team and the 2016 Olympic Team.
Miranda Melville, Rush, NY, Track & Field
Miranda Melville is a champion race walker from New York. She became the top 20K race walk finisher for the senior USA Track & Field team at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, finishing first place at the Upstate New York Holiday Classic and setting a meet record (2011). Melville intends to use the grant funds to help pay for travel, coaching, and equipment costs, as well as to support her participation in 2012-2013 national and international race walking events, domestic competitive race walking opportunities, and for sports medicine services.
Hannah Walter, Angola, NY, Rhythmic Gymnastics
Hannah Walter is a 19-year-old rhythmic gymnast from New York who already has an impressive resume. As a member of the U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics Team, she placed third at the Visa Championships (2011). Walter will use the funds to achieve her competitive goals, which include moving up to the top 3 in the U.S. National Senior Rhythmic Team rankings, representing the U.S. in international competitions, and going to the 2013 World University Games. At the same time, she will continue to train as an elite with the ultimate goal of being selected for the 2016 Olympic Team for group or individuals.
Carlissa Cochran, Willow Street, PA, Archery
Carlissa Cochran is an archer from Pennsylvania. She has won the National Archery Association Scholarship Award (2010) and the Pennsylvania State Champion award (2009-2010). Carlissa intends to use the Travel & Training grant funds for the costs of travel to national and international archery competitions. A member of the Junior U.S. Archery Team for three years, Cochran’s goal this year is to qualify and represent her country as a member of the Senior U.S. Archery Team.
Rosie Brennan, Park City, UT, Cross Country Skiing
Rosie Brennan is a cross-country skier from Utah. The All-American at Dartmouth College finished first at the Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association Championships (2011) and second at the St. Lawrence Carnival (2010). With this Travel & Training grant, Brennan will be able to continue to compete at the elite level in Super Tours and World Cups.
Heather Herde, Salt Lake City, UT, Snowboarding
Heather Herde is an alpine snowboarder from Utah. She finished in second place at the North America Cup (2010) and in tenth place in the slalom at the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) event in Alberta, Canada (2011). Herde will use the Travel & Training funds towards coaching and travel fees for the 2012-2013 Alpine Snowboarding season.
Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT, Ski Jumping
Alissa Johnson is skier from Utah. As a member of the USA Women’s Ski Jumping team, she looks to make history at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Johnson is a member of the U.S. team that won the Nations Cup Championship for the 2012 International Ski Federation World Cup season. Johnson will use Travel & Training grant funds to alleviate the costs of equipment, traveling to competitions, and training camps. This grant will also help her to afford the top of the line equipment needed in to give her a competitive edge in the sport, so that she can meet her goal of qualifying for her third Nordic World Championship team in Val di Fiemme Italy.
Gabrielle Douglas, Virginia Beach, VA, Gymnastics
Gabrielle Douglas is a gymnast from Virginia. As a member of the U.S. National team, she won two gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in the women’s all-around and the women’s team event.
The Women’s Sports Foundation thanks Douglas for her generous offer to donate her Travel & Training Fund grant back to us, so that these funds can be used to assist another athlete in covering the travel and training costs necessary for her continued competition.
Pocock High Performance Team, Seattle, WA, Rowing
The George Pocock Rowing Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of rowing within the community of Seattle, Washington. The George Pocock Foundation has sent several teams to National and International Regattas and the various teams have placed in the top 10 in numerous competitions. Travel & Training grant funds will cover the cost of Pocock High Performance Team members’ airfare to elite, national-level regattas, as well as per-diem food expenses while athletes are traveling and racing, often a week to ten days. Additionally, the funds will help contribute to the costs of coaching, dues, regatta entry fees, and uniforms.
Leah Lambert, Delafield, WI, Speedskating
Leah Lambert is a speed skater from Wisconsin. She finished in tenth place at the U.S. Single Distance (2012) and in third place at the American Cup Series (2012). Leah Lambert use Travel & Training grant funds for coaching fees and the expenses of traveling to competitions that she needs to attend throughout the season to reach her goal of becoming an Olympian.
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