Joey Cheek was just 14 at the time, but remembers watching speed skater, Johann Olav Kloss, win his gold medals in the 1994 Olympics. Right then he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He trained and perfected his speed skating skills. Twelve years later it’s Cheek who is the Gold Medal winner.
Cheek has been inspired by Koss in ways that go beyond speed skating. Koss oversees an organization called “Right to Play”. Right to Play goes to the poorest parts of the globe. It uses sports and games as a tool for improving the lives of children. World class athletes are involved in the program and often travel to these regions to work with the kids directly.
Before Cheek won the gold medal, he felt he needed to use the Olympic platform to do something for others. He contacted Koss, who is President and CEO of Right to Play, and asked how he might help. Before he even competed, he had decided that any winnings would go to the organization.
Cheek skated away with the gold and a $25,000 check. He’s donated the entire amount to Right to Play. Under his direction, the money will be used in the Darfur region of Sudan. He hopes that corporate sponsors will match his donation.
If you’d like to learn more, visit the Right to Play website.