When Joey Cheek first put on skates, it was one of those rare moments where it feels like you’ve found the thing you were made to do. The North Carolina native would win multiple junior national titles racing on inline skates before watching the 1994 Olympics and deciding, at 14, that the ice was where he wanted to race next.
After packing his bags and moving out at age 16, Cheek went on to win multiple national and world cup medals. In 2002, he won his first Olympic medal, a Bronze, at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Four years later, he achieved the pinnacle of sport, winning the World Championships and Olympic Gold and Silver Medals at the 2006 Olympics Games in Torino, Italy.
Cheek is perhaps best known for his work off the ice. After winning the Gold in 2006, he announced he would be donating all of his Olympic bonus money to refugees fleeing the conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Cheek co-founded Team Darfur, a coalition of Olympic and professional athletes focused on ending the genocide in Sudan.
Cheek is a graduate of Princeton University, was named one of TIME magazines “100 Most Influential People” and currently runs DailyHouse.com, a site focused on covering Olympic sports year-round.
See Joey’s TEDxRVA 2013 talk here!