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One Last Go

In less than seven months, Collierville’s Kimberly Derrick hopes to compete against the world’s finest athletes one last time at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
For now, the two-time Olympic speed skater is just trying to make ends meet.
Last month, Derrick was one of many American athletes to have her stipend cut by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Where Derrick once received a monthly check for $1,250, she now gets $600 to pay for training, equipment and living expenses.
“That,” Derrick said last week, “is not a lot.”
Since the 2010 bronze medal winner practices eight hours a day, six days a week, the possibility of securing full-time employment is practically inconceivable.
“Becoming an Olympian takes a lot of time, hard work, dedication and commitment,” she said. “Holding down a steady, full-time job is almost impossible.”
So, like many of her Olympic teammates, Derrick, who is currently training in Salt Lake City, Utah, began exploring other options to finance her desire to win Olympic gold.
Enter gofundme.com, a personal online fundraising website.
Derrick has already gained $2,580 from 21 donors on the popular website. Her goal is $15,000.
Perhaps adding heightened pressure to the matter is the likelihood that this will be Derrick’s last Olympics.
After years of dominating inline skate competitions all over the world, Derrick, a five-time world champion inline skater, decided to shift her efforts to the ice eight year ago.
“She accomplished all she could in inline skating,” said Kenny Derrick, Kimberly’s father. “She wanted to compete in the Olympics.”
So, the Derrick’s agreed that Kimberly would try her hand at short-track speed skating.
“She couldn’t even spell ice when she started,” Kenny recalled. “But inline skating really translates well.”
Sure enough, Kimberly’s history with inline skates enabled her impress immediately on ice.
“She was just a natural,” Kenny said.
Eighteen months later, Kimberly was on the 2006 U.S. Short Track Speed Skating Team. She competed in the 1000 meter and the 3000 meter team relay races in Torino, Italy, but did not medal.
Then, in the 2010, she won a bronze medal in the 3000 meter relay.
Now at the age of 28, Derrick is hoping to medal again in her final Olympic run.
“This is my last go,” she said. skate

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