Mikki Rösch: Crowdfunding #Pyeongchang Dream, Salute to Fallen Coach
Mikki Rösch is what could be called a “biathlon lifer,” growing up wanting to follow in the footsteps of his medal-winning father. Since the age of six, biathlon has been the Altenberg native’s passion. He has overcome hurdle after hurdle in his career, including multiple injuries, surgeries, illnesses, changing nations, and financial problems. Yet, he is still in biathlon and still dreaming of another shot at Olympic glory, with a little help from friends and fans.
Crowdfunding: Fotobomb für Pyeongchang
The 2006 Olympic Relay Gold medalist for Germany, who now competes for Belgium, is one of many World Cup level biathletes from small nations who stay afloat with the help of sponsors, personal funds, and family. He commented, “To finance everything my parents, private savings and sponsors have helped! Performance is expensive and I am very glad that I could find some sponsors who have supported me for years. Rösch estimates that his annual budget is in the range of 60,000 Euros for training, equipment, travel, etc. To fill the gaps in his budget, he recently went to crowdfunding through the Swiss portal, “I Believe in You.” With an emotional appeal letter and his typical humorous attitude in an accompanying video titled “Fotobomb für Pyeongchang,” he reached out to the public for support, with a goal of 20,000 CHF (roughly 17,500 Euros).
Troubles and Costs Paid Off
This veteran biathlete, has trained for the past couple of seasons with the Swiss men’s team, which helped him move back into the elite biathlon ranks and move him closer to his dream of competing in Pyeongchang. Rösch climbed back into the top six for the first time since the IBU WCH at Pyeongchang in 2009 last December in pursuits at Pokljuka and Nove Mesto, a huge accomplishment and motivator for his Olympic season. Describing that accomplishment, he said, “I was back in the world! Alone for this moment all the costs and troubles paid off!” He emotionally dedicated his success to all those who supported him along the way including his former mentor and coach Klaus Siebert who died in 2016 after a long courageous battle with cancer.
In Memory of Klaus
Less than a month after kicking off his fundraising effort and several weeks before it was due to expire; he surpassed his goal, reaching more than 21,000 CHF, provided by more than 248 supporters. In expressing his gratitude, he commented, "I am overwhelmed, proud, motivated, happy and infinitely grateful for your help!" The ever-unpredictable Rösch added another twist. He announced, “With 24 days left, I am going to donate 10% of the funds to Duetsche Krebshilfe, in memory of Klaus Siebert.”
Pyeongchang, Thoughts, and a Smile
If all goes well this year, Mikki Rösch will complete his personal # roadtopyeongchang next February, be accompanied by photos and best wishes from his many newfound supporters…and probably flash a smile and think about Klaus Siebert and his part in Rösch’s biathlon life.