Skeleton racer Elizabeth Maier finds unique way to raise funds in the pandemic

CALGARY — Skeleton racer Elisabeth Maier  has won 12 medals on the World Cup circuit including three gold., a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships in Winterberg, Germany and also competed for Canada in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang but Maier – like a lot of Olympic athletes – wouldn’t be where she is today without the help of fundraisers.

Every year Maier has held a dinner to help raise funds but this year, thanks to a pandemic, she had to get creative.

Elizabeth Maier

“That’s where the idea of a drive-thru fundraiser came from,” Maier said.  “To help people be as comfortable as possible in these crazy times.”

The drive-thru dinner was held over the weekend in the parking lot of the McKenzie Towne church.

Event organizers packed up pulled pork meals to be taken home at a safe distance.  The fundraiser also included a raffle and a bottle drive. 

The drive-thru had its challenges but Maier says the most important thing was keeping it safe.

Elizabeth Maier

“It was hard getting traction originally,” she said. “I think people were concerned with everything with the coronavirus.  But we’ve done our best to keep social distance, keep people separated and have kept everything as clean as possible.  We ended up with quite a few numbers at the end of the day.”

A lot has changed for Maier this year.  She and her husband Benjamin who is an Austrian bobsleigh driver had a son, Hendrix, 9 months ago.

Benjamin is in Austria to start his competitive season. Maier says having Hendrix has given her a whole new perspective on life.

Elizabeth Maier

“It has changed completely. My purpose in sport has changed to inspire my son to chase his dreams,” she told CTV.

“My goal is to inspire moms worldwide to chase after their goals,” Maier said.  “This guy comes first.  He brings so much love and joy into our lives.”

Training has also been different for Maier.  She often has Hendrix with her when she’s working out..

She and her teammates also had to adapt before gyms started opening up in Calgary.

“I was in Austria with Benjamin and Hendrix until just last month.   I was able to train there.  And then when it was time to train here my coach made a gym in his garage, so the whole team has been training there.”

Fortunately for Elisabeth and her teammates the performance training centre at Winsport is now open.

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