Olympic Gold, Silver & Bronze Medalist
Joey Cheek grew up as an inline skater and made the switch to ice skating in 1995. Do so required an international cross-continent move from North Carolina to Calgary, Canada – all at sixteen years old. Cheek worked his way through the ranks of American speedskaters and on to the US National Team. When the world tuned in to watch the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City Cheek put himself on the map with an Olympic bronze medal in the 1000 meter event.
Cheek then became a mainstay on the U.S. Speedskating Team, capturing twenty-one international World Cup and World Championship medals. In January of 2006 he won the World Sprint Championship and the following month, at the Olympics in Torino, Italy,he left an indelible mark in Olympic history by winning the gold medal in the 500 meters and silver in the 1000 meters.
Cheek’s most enduring Olympic moment took place off the ice. At his post-gold medal press conference, he deflected questions regarding his on ice victory and chose instead to speak out on the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan. He announced his own personal donation of $40,000.00 to the cause and challenged individuals and corporations to match his efforts. He partnered with Right To Play (www.righttoplay.com) , an athlete driven international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play as a tool for the development of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. He has gone on to raise nearly $1,000,000.00 for charitable efforts
Cheek’s selfless act of philanthropy has inspired countless others and landed him on the Wheaties box, Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list, and People Magazine’s list of the most interesting people of 2006. He was a finalist for Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year, was the inaugural recipient of the Heisman Trophy’s Heisman Humanitarian Award and was named the US Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Year. He has testified before Congress regarding the crisis in Darfur. In September of 2006 Cheek participated in the Clinton Global Initiative where he officially founded and launched the Darfur action organization ‘Where Will We Be?’ (www.wherewillwebe.org)’ Through WWWB, Cheek will gather an international coalition of champion athletes to join him on a trip to Darfur to continue to raise awareness and work toward a resolution of the crisis.
Cheek will attend Princeton University in the fall of 2007.
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