Fundraisers planned to get Detroit speed skaters families to Russia

Clinton Township, Melvindale, Woodhaven will be represented on the ice during Winter Olympics

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Jessica Smith

When the speed skaters take the ice in Sochi, Russia, metro Detroit will be well represented.

Three women have qualified to compete in the Winter Olympics.

Jessica Smith of Melvindale qualified for three short track speed skating events; the 500m, 1000m and 1500m.

Kelly Gunther, who attended Chippewa Valley High School, qualified in the 1000 meters in long track speed skating.

Jilleanne Rookard qualified for the 3000 meter in long track speed skating.  Rookard is from Woodhaven and competed in three events at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics:  the 3000m, 1500m, and the ladies' team pursuit.

Family and friends of both Smith and Gunther are trying to raise money so their families can watch them compete in Sochi Russia.   

Smith's parents, Ricky and Reina Smith plan to travel to Russia with their son.   Family and friends have started a fundraising page on to help them cover the costs.  

To learn more on Smith's fundraiser, click here.

For Gunther, a pasta fundraiser will be held Thursday at the Mirage Banquet Center at 16980 18 Mile Road in Clinton Township.  

Gunther will be in attendance.  It runs from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday January 9.  The cost is $10 for all you can eat pasta, salad and rolls.

There is also a fundraising page for Gunther at

Rookard has also created a page to help raise money for all the things she will need to compete in Sochi.  According to the page that includes equipment, alternative care like chiropractic, nutritional supplements, small housing fees, proper nutrition in grocery, skate tech fees, flights from Olympic Trials, and gym fees among others.

The Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi Russia from Feb. 7 until Feb. 23.  Stay with Local 4 and for complete coverage throughout the winter games.

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