Barry skier Rob Taylor begins his Winter Olympic quest - and pays tribute to late brother, skate champion Richard
A BARRY skier is hoping an Olympian-style fundraising push can set him on course for Winter Olympics glory in 2014.
Freestyle skier Rob Taylor, a new member of the GB Half Pipe Ski Squad, needs to secure as much funding as he can to make his Olympic dream happen - and to pay tribute to his brother Richard and dad John.
British in-line skating and freestyle ski champion Richard died aged 23, in 2004, in a skating accident in Barry.
Their dad John Taylor died in 2006 on the morning of Barry's Kidney Wales Foundation Walk for Life, which he and wife Gaynor organised to raise awareness after Richard's organs were donated following his death.
Gaynor, family, friends and supporters also raised £90,000 to build the Richard Taylor Memorial skate park, at The Knap, which opened in 2007.
Rob, 28, of Broad Street, said: "I am currently training hard with the goal of selection for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
"Although the government is providing funding for the top four athletes who are likely to gain medals, as a new team member I have to achieve two placements within the top 15 of the World Series Half Pipe Ski competitions this coming season - 2012/2013 - to gain eligibility for selection to the Olympic squad.
"This will involve entering more than 12 competitions, together with training camps."
Rob, a landscape gardener with Barry firm Down To Earth who are supporting his sporting ambitions, finished 57th in his first World Cup last year - despite his preparation being hampered by injury.
The former St Cyres pupil needs two top 20 finishes in world events and 100 FIS (Federation Internationale De Ski) points to qualify for selection, and hopes to fulfil that criteria as soon as possible - jetting to Cardrona, New Zealand on Sunday (August 12) to begin his campaign.
Rob needs money for flights, accommodation, ski lift passes and competition entry fees at an approximate cost of £3,000, and needs to attend training camps during the season prior to any competitions at a cost of around £15,000.
"I am currently funding myself by gardening when I am at home in Barry, and I have been able to support myself up until now," he said.
"But as my training and competition schedule increases I will not have time to work and will have to find other sources of funding."
His brother and father would have been proud, he added.
"Richard would be amazed. He always saw potential in me, but I never had the commitment then," said Rob.
"My dad would be proud and my mother is pushing me - she's my manager at the moment!
"My inspiration is my family, and the Olympics has been my dream for a long time.
"It was just a dream, but I can do more than just qualify - I can get to the finals."
* Any individuals or businesses able to offer support to Rob, financially or with equipment, can email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Pledges can also be made at any time via a fundraising bucket at Strands hairdressers, Island Road, or to Gaynor Taylor at 72 Porth-y-Castell.
* Alternatively visit http://gogetfunding.com/project/get-me-to-the-winter-olympics
*Rob is also interested in hearing from schools that would like him to talk about his sporting endeavours.
* ROLLERBLADE enthusiasts could skate away with a £100 gift voucher prize in Barry this Saturday. (August 11). Male and female competitors of all ages and abilities are urged to visit the Cold Knap skate park for the Richard Taylor Memorial Rollerblade competition from 11am to 5pm. A number of other prizes will also be up for grabs.