U.S. Junior Champion Jeremy Abbott Establishes Fund for Boys
|Jeremy Abbott with some of the kids from the Aspen Skating Club|
(5/11/05) — 2005 U.S. junior men's champion Jeremy Abbott of the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs returned to his roots in early May to headline the annual Aspen Skating Club spring show at the Lewis Ice Arena at the Aspen Recreation Center. While there, Abbott did something he had long wanted to do; he used his performance fee to establish a fund for boys skating competitively for the club that gave him his start.
The initial donation will assist with funding club dues for eligible skaters, but it also allows the families to request additional assistance with competition fees, skates, lessons, costuming, skates — any fees directly connected with competitive skating.
"Growing up in Aspen and being one of the few guys figure skating in a hockey town wasn't easy — or cheap," Abbott said. "The cost of skating, even from the beginning, can keep families from participating in the sport. I wanted a way to help get — and keep — younger boys in figure skating and this was a small way to start."
While the initial funding is modest, Abbott plans on adding a portion of future performance fees to keep the fund going. He'll also be encouraging people in the Roaring Fork Valley community to add to the tax-deductible fund in order to support the boys wanting to compete within the club, which is the only one in the area and draws young skaters from as far as Silt, Colo., more than 60 miles away.
"This is about the only country in the world that doesn't give respect to figure skaters as athletes," Abbott said. "This is a sport. It's demanding physically and mentally. I hope that other guys in other clubs who have had success do the same thing and establish some kind of funding for the youngest boys. It's a great way to give back to skating, and I hope that I continue to be successful so I'll be able to really build it into something that has an impact with the club that gave me my start."
Abbott began skating at the age of 2 in Aspen. Inspired by seeing a live performance starring Robin Cousins two years later, he joined the Aspen Skating Club and began his competitive career with Colorado's "Funtastics" Basic Skills event. Abbott moved from Aspen to Colorado Springs in 1999 to train at the Colorado Springs World Arena with Tom Zakrajsek. The 2005 U.S. junior title was his first time on the national podium.