Looking to win two Golds


Winning a gold medal is the dream of every Olympic athlete. And while the U.S. is currently dominating the total medal count in Vancouver--seven of which are gold and with a good chance of winning more--one U.S. athlete has her sights set on a different kind of an award.Hoping to win the O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award, U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu, from Arcadia, California, wrote a touching tribute to her mother, Ikuko Nagasu on Facebook, along with other U.S. Olympic athletes. O.C. Tanner calls itself and its employees "specialists in appreciateology." The company helps other companies grow by focusing on appreciation and providing recognition solutions. In honor of the Olympic Games, O.C. Tanner invited athletes to share their story about someone who inspired and encouraged their dream. Fans can vote for their favorite, and four of the nominees will receive a 14k gold commemorative ring. The idea is that while these inspirations will never win their own win Olympic medals, they can still receive a token of appreciation for making the dream possible for others. Nagasu, 16, who will skate in her first Olympics (she'll skate to Hans Zimmer's "Pirates of the Caribbean" in the women's short program airing tonight), told USA Today that winning the O.C. Tanner award for her mom would be just a meaningful as winning a medal in Vancouver. Her mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer this past fall and has had two surgeries. She will be given radiation therapy following the family's return from Vancouver. In her facebook tribute, the 2008 U.S. Champion and two-time World Junior Medalist wrote, "Watching her sacrifice for me inspires me to push forward. How could I see my mom wearing clothes with holes in them so I could afford lessons, and not be grateful? "Her recent battle with cancer hasn't slowed her down. Through treatments and surgeries she insists on supporting me--even coming home one day after surgery to drive me to the rink. I would like to see my mom become a recipient of the Inspiration Award because she really deserves to be recognized for all of her hard work."Olympic speedskaters Jilleanne Rookard and Jennifer Rodriguez are also honoring their mothers. Rookard's mother died of multiple myeloma in December, seven days after Rookard qualified for the games. While her mother wasn't there to witness it, Rookard was able to tell her mom that she was finally an Olympian before her mom's death. Rodriguez's mother also passed away from cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, but was still able to support Rodriguez through three Olympic Games ('98, 2002 and 2006) before her recent death. "In 2010 I will skate for the first time without my mother in the stands," Rodriguez wrote in her tribute. "I didn't think I would be able to do this without her. But I'm continuing on for her... I know she'll be with me at the Games and she'll have the best seat in the house." To read the full tributes from these athletes, and to vote, visit the O.C. Tanner Facebook page.

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