By: Jamie Samuelsen

If you haven’t been already, you’re about to be inundated by Winter Olympic commercials.

The games are coming next month from Sochi. And coming with them will be ads for Coke, Nike, Clorox and Kelloggs. They will echo the same themes about hard work, determination, competition and the undying support of family and friends. Most Olympians dream of standing on the podium. All of them dream of sharing that moment with their families.

Well, one local athlete needs some help in making that dream a reality.

Melvindale’s Jessica Smith is heading to Russia next month to compete in the short-track speed skating competition. She qualified in the 500, 1000 and 1500 meters. She’s all set to head over with her team. But her parents and her brother may be left behind. Smith estimates that the cost for her family to travel and stay in Sochi will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000. Her father Rick is a truck driver. Her mother Reina cuts hair. And 40,000 dollars for a trip to Russia simply isn’t in their budget. A friend of the family has set up a website so that other friends (and hopefully supportive Detroiters) can help send all the Smiths over to see Jessica chase gold.

Here’s a link to the donation site if you’re able to help out –

I talked with Jessica earlier this week from her training home in Salt Lake City, Utah. She’s a Detroiter at heart and knows what this trip will mean to both her and her family. Take a listen to the podcast – and if you can, please help make Jessica Smith’s Olympic dreams come true.


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