Targeting the top twenty
Olympic Solidarity for Vancouver hopefuls
Anastasia Gimazetdinova, from the Republic of Uzbekistan, has a dream – to participate in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and finish as one of the 20 best female skaters in the world. To support her in the preparation, the 28-year-old has been granted an Olympic Solidarity scholarship.
Bonds with Uzbekistan and Russia
Anastasia, who is a three-time Uzbek champion, is training in the Russian city of Pervouralsk, which has a long-standing association with figure skating. The 28-year-old was born to an Uzbek father and aRussian mother so feels a strong affiliation with both her homeland and her training base. The Olympic Solidarity scholarship helps Anastasia cover her travel, training and coaching costs during the preparation and qualification process. She tells us: “We started to feel the benefits of the support right from the very beginning. Now we have resources to pay for the practice hours at the skating rink. It’s so nice to skate in the arena when there aren’t many other athletes around. You feel free to do whatever you want without disturbing others. Naturally it will help me to prepare better for the big competitions that lie ahead.”
Though an older athlete in her sport, Anastasia hopes for a major breakthrough in Vancouver: “I would say there are only a handful of skaters throughout the world still competing at my age. But I am just happy to perform for Uzbekistan. It’s a great honour that our Olympic Committee continues to support me and now especially with the additional backing of the Olympic Solidarity programme. I started competing in 2002 and have since participated in several World Figure Skating Championships as well as in the International Skating Union Grand Prix series. And this season I am focused on achieving my long-time dream – to enter the list of the top 20 female skaters in the world.”
About Olympic Solidarity
Olympic Solidarity is an IOC organisation, and the body that ensures that athletes with talent, regardless of their financial status, have an equal chance of reaching the Olympic Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena. It is responsible for administering and managing the National Olympic Committees (NOCs)’ share of the revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games. Working in particular with the most disadvantaged NOCs and their Continental Associations, Olympic Solidarity uses this money to develop a range of assistance programmes. Besides individual scholarships for athletes, there are also “Team Support Grants” to support ice hockey and curling teams likely to qualify for the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
The total budget for the 2009-2012 Olympic Solidarity quadrennial period amounts to USD 311 million. Within this budget, USD 61 million is earmarked to provide support to athletes.