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Zoe Gillings Funding Her Own Ride to Sochi Hot

zoegillingsImagine your Olympic dream being cut right out from underneath you. It’s a reality all to familiar for Great Britain’s Zoe Gillings now that Snowsport GB cut all funding for the country’s ski and snowboard teams.

Gillings, now 25, began snowboarding when she was just ten and hit the competitive ranks just five years later. The woman from the Isle of Man has shown increased progress in her results of late, including eighth place at the Vancouver Olympics and seventh at the 2011 World Championships – both in the discipline of snowboard cross.

Given her steady climb in the rankings, and quite frankly better descents down the mountain, the recent news of Great Britain Sport removing funding from snow sports is particularly devastating to Gillings.

Gillings told PlanetSki, “Since 2006 I’ve been on the World Cup podium three times. I am capable of reaching the podium [at the 2014 Games] in Sochi.”

And, Gillings said, the recent budget measure will not deter her, “I have faced many obstacles in the last 10 years and even though the answer to the current funding problem is yet to be found, there is no question I will continue.”

To overcome the problem, Zoe launched late last year in an effort to raise proceeds for her sport in Great Britain. The website works akin to Groupon and other social couponing sites, providing large discounts to people for a short period of time. Isleofdeals is targeted to Isle of Man residents, allowing them to experience the islands restaurants, outdoor activities, spas, retail, salons, events and more at a fraction of the normal price.

The deals only kick in if enough people sign up for them, but if they do, businesses receive great exposure and patronage that might not occur otherwise.

Most importantly, Gillings receives funds as each business signs up for the deal and consumers frequent those locations, something the intrepid athlete is confident will work, “Manx (another way of referencing the Isle of Man) consumers will benefit from the best deals the Island has to offer, and participating businesses will see a huge increase in sales due to the exposure, marketing and promotional depth IsleofDeals provides.”

There is no news of the site’s success early on, but as the World Cup season begins anew and Sochi approaches, it will be interesting to see if Gillings is able to receive the funding she needs to realize her goal of receiving an Olympic medal.

-Ryan O'Leary

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