This article was posted today on the US Ski Team website.
While this season has been one of success for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, it was also one of philanthropy as the athletes teamed up to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti through donation and fundraising efforts.
The push began in January when members of the team, along with the global community of athletes on the World Cup, put their race bibs up for auction. Racers participating included U.S. all-stars Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY).
"I think we were all watching the incredible destruction going on in Haiti on TV and how poorly their infrastructure was able to handle it. It was clear that they needed help and raising money was the best way to do that," said Scott Macartney (Crystal Mountain, WA) who spearheaded the group's efforts. "I thought the auction was incredibly successful. It is the best bib of the season, autographed by the athlete and it was in high demand. I think every athlete was happy to help out!"
The men put up individually signed race bibs from the 70th running of the famed Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and the women signed bibs from the World Cup super G Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. All auction items were placed on eBay and in the end, the results were astounding.
Counts at the close of the auctions held that the race bibs earned $90,000 in online auctions for the earthquake relief effort in Haiti, with the highest earner being the bib of Didier Cuche of Switzerland, who was the Hahnenkamm winner and whose signed bib was purchased for $16,209. Of the U.S. men, Miller earned the most at $2,504. Vonn's bib went for $8,600 and Ligety earned $1,075.
"Thanks to everyone who bought a bib to help Haiti! Your help goes a long way," Vonn said.
But, Vonn wasn't ready to stop her philanthropic efforts there and enlisted the help of one of TV's most popular funny women to get people to keep thinking about Haiti.
Following her Olympic success, Vonn stopped by for a visit with Ellen DeGeneres and, after receiving a pair of Head skis and Leki poles featuring Ellen's face on them, the Olympic champ thought that the items would be better served in the aid of Haiti.
Vonn signed the poles, DeGeneres wrote an official letter to accompany them, and they were placed on eBay with the promise that proceeds would go to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund. In the end, the items sold for $1,575.
While the athlete auctions are now closed, people can still get involved in the cause to help Haiti through the Red Cross here.