Behind every athlete who wows the world at the Olympic Games is years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. These athletes need a wide network of support to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
Peter Sullivan, a junior studying marketing at the University of Utah, grew up speed skating and realized that these athletes often struggled to maintain support and find resources: “Speed skating is a very underfunded sport in the U.S., and it’s not just speed skating — it’s a lot of winter sports.” Together with his team members, including U student Maame Biney and Boston University students Kevin Tang, Leif Olsen, and Quinn Taylor, he created the Winter Athlete Foundation.
“The Winter Athlete Foundation, in a nutshell, is a nonprofit organization that wants to help winter athletes,” Sullivan said. Currently, they are providing help with resumes and academic support for winter athletes, which can help them find new opportunities after transitioning out of a sporting career. The Winter Athlete Foundation has only been recognized as a nonprofit for about eight months, but they have already helped over a dozen athletes, including Biney and junior national speed skating champion April Shin.
Eventually, Sullivan hopes the Winter Athlete Foundation can fully pay for athletes’ training. When athletes are not part of the U.S. national team, “people have a hard time buying the equipment and buying all the materials necessary” to continue in their sports. Sullivan is proud that the Winter Athlete Foundation is already helping individuals and fostering connections. “We have created a culture now,” he says, especially among the athletes that make the U their home.
Collaborating with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute has been an integral part of this nonprofit’s success. “Lassonde has been fantastic in helping the Winter Athlete Foundation,” Sullivan said. “They have assisted us in not only helping out our first athletes, but they helped us with getting our tax exemption forms, with the grant that they gave us, and they provided the venue for us to meet with other entrepreneurs who can help with this.” The Winter Athlete Foundation team competed at the Get Seeded program and is preparing to enter the Company Launch program. By using the resources and connections at Lassonde, Sullivan hopes to help many more athletes follow their dreams.
For more information, visit winterathlete.org.