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Speedskater gets help from American public

KEARNS, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Emily Scott hit some hard financial times after her Olympic stipend had been cut, but thanks to an online fundraising effort, her Olympic dreams are back on track.
KEARNS, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Emily Scott trains eight hours per day, six days a week as she trains to make the U.S. Olympic speedskating team. 

"It's definitely a full-time job," Scott said. "But it's not paid like a full-time job."

And there lies the problem. Scott, who moved from Missouri to Utah five years ago, receives a stipend from U.S. Speedskating. But when it was cut from nearly $2000 to $600, Scott feared that her Olympic dreams would die.

"I really thought that there was a mistake," she said. "When I found out it wasn't a mistake, I called my dad in a panic. I wasn't sure I'd be able to stay out here."

Scott works part-time at a medical supply company that pays about 14 dollars per hour, and was having trouble paying her rent and buying her skating equipment. Things got so desperate, she had to apply for food stamps.

"That was a pretty low point," Scott said. "But it's what I thought I had to do."

Fearing that her Olympic hopes were on thin ice, Scott joined an online fundraising website called GoFundme.com, where people could donate money to her training. After about two months Scott had raised just under $200. But then USA Today did a feature story on Scott and her financial struggles, and all of a sudden, Scott's account skyrocketed to over $47,000.

"I was overwhelmed," she said. "I couldn't believe that complete strangers were willing to be touched by my story and willing to support me. I wrote thank you letters to every single person that donated, but I know that 'thank you' will never be enough."

Scott says the best way to thank her supporters is to make the U.S. Olympic team and win a medal.

"People are just amazing," Scott said. "I just hope that I can make them all proud."




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