When Nik Seeman, 16, a junior at Middle Park High School and local freestyle aerials skier, received a new tablet in the mail, he had no idea what to expect.
When he turned on the tablet a video of Louie Vito, a U.S. Olympic snowboarder, began playing and informed Seeman that he had been selected as a next generation Olympic athlete by TD Ameritrade and would be traveling to Sochi, Russia, to watch the 2014 Olympic Winter Games on an all expenses-paid trip with his family.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Seeman said. “I’m still pretty shocked.”
Though Seeman will be on the sidelines of the 2014 Winter Olympics, he will be gunning for a spot on the U.S. Ski Team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, and with his current ranking as the 12th best Freestyle Aerial skier in the nation, that dream is not too far off.
The TD Ameritrade sponsorship comes from the company’s social media campaign, called “#itaddsup,” through which they sponsor Olympic athletes and younger athletes with hopes of going to the Olympics.
Every time someone tweets #itaddsup, Seeman raises money that pays for the airline miles that will get him to Sochi for the Winter Games.
Seeman’s mentor through the sponsorship, Patrick Deneen, a mogul skier for the U.S. Ski Team who will compete in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, nominated Seeman for the program and will help coach the Winter Park native.
“The whole idea is to get Olympic hopefuls to the Olympics so they know what to expect,” Seeman said.
Seeman has spent the past two summers practicing with the U.S. Ski Team in Park City, Utah, where he is currently training. Though when he is not training with the U.S. Ski Team, he is practicing at Winter Park Resort with his coach and father, Chris Seeman, who serves on the Winter Park town council.
Seeman has made some serious strides in his skiing career in the past years by winning the Intermountain Aerial Championships in 2012 and finishing 15th and 8th at the U.S. Aerial Selections event in Park City, Utah.
Seeman is now working on advancing his skills by adding to the tricks in his bag and is currently perfecting a trick consisting of two backflips and three spins, called a “full-double-full.” His next goal is to complete a “full-full-full,” or three backflips and three twists.
“Chris and I are so proud of Nik,” said Seeman’s mother and biggest fan Sue Seeman. “He has worked really hard the last few years to get where he is today.”
Balancing it all
Seeman still receives good grades at school, according to his mother, despite having to balance his school work with his training schedule, which often times requires him to train away from home during the school year.
To accommodate his demanding training schedule, Seeman takes online classes through Middle Park High School.
“They have been very supportive in Nik’s schooling and training goals,” Seeman’s mother said of the local high school. “Nik has learned a great balance of doing his schooling combined with his training, and he continues to do well in school.”
The goal of the TD Ameritrade campaign is to push the investment firm’s long-term investment services, such as Individual Retirement Accounts.
“Athletes take a lot of small steps every day in the journey to make it to the Olympic Games,” Dedra DeLilli, director of marketing and corporate sponsorship for TD Ameritrade, was quoted as saying in a Dec. 8 New York Times article titled “TD Ameritrade Commercials Link Olympics and Investing.”
“As a brokerage firm, we feel that a goal of saving $1 million or $2 million can also be daunting, but there are small steps that consumers can take to make that goal not so daunting,” she said in the article.
Seeman’s mother said she’s excited to accompany her son to Sochi for the Olympics, which includes tickets to the opening ceremonies as well as tickets to at least one event each day.
“We are looking forward to seeing Patrick Deneen, Nik’s mentor, compete in moguls while we are there,” Seeman’s mother said.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334
“Chris and I are so proud of Nik. He has worked really hard the last few years to get where he is today.”
Mother to Nik