SHANGHAI, CHINA - MARCH 11: Lana Gehring, Jessica Smith, Emily Scott and Tamara Frederick of United States pose during the medal presentation for the Women's 3000m Relay Final of the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships at the Oriental Sports Center on March 11, 2012 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
When U.S. speedskater Emily Scott posted on the crowdfunding site, gofundme.com, she never thought this would happen. After reading about how her monthly stipend from US Speedskating was cut from $1950 to $600 and her wrenching decision to apply for food stamps, many responded with financial support.
Before USA TODAY Sports published her story, Scott had raised $190 in two months. By Tuesday night, she had raised $20,565 and counting.
Scott, 24, who lives and trains in Salt Lake City, has a part-time job at a surgical supply factory to help make ends meet. (The job, with GE Healthcare, is through the Team USA Career Program.) She trains six days a week, about eight hours a day. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are seven months away.
"It's so amazing," Scott said Tuesday night. "Strangers who don't even know me. I've written back to everyone who's donated trying to express my gratitude but I don't think I can say thank you enough. It's crazy.
"It's astonishing that people care that much. I thought my own governing body didn't' believe in me and for these strangers to believe in me, it felt really good."
When she learned about the outpouring after practice, she immediately called her dad, Craig, who raised his daughters as a single dad. "I cried to him. The whole time he's been telling me everything will work out. He said, 'I told you to keep believing.'"
Scott said when she initially posted on the web site, she didn't think she would get much response since there are several other speedskaters and potential Olympians also trying to raise money on the site. Fortunately, she was wrong.
"I'm still in a little bit of shock," she said. After being so focused on how to make ends meet, now she can concentrate on making the Olympic team. "I was able to breathe for a second and look at things a little bit differently and plan a little bit better about what I want to do to make the Sochi team."
Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY Sport