US Speedskating using crowd funding

U.S. Speedskating is turning to crowd funding to raise money for free daily lunches for its athletes, with a goal of netting $50,000 for the new program.

The most successful U.S. sport in Winter Olympics history has been hampered by budget woes in recent years. Comedian Stephen Colbert famously stepped in to help raise funds before the 2010 Vancouver Games.

U.S. Speedskating said Thursday that it is partnering with Utah-based RallyMe, an online fundraising company. The "Feed the Speed" campaign launching on Monday involves a 45-day drive to raise money for free healthy lunches for speedskaters in the national training program.

Other national governing bodies that have turned to crowd funding are the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

U.S. Speedskating marketing director Tamara Castellano says she believes crowd funding is a way for the governing body to reach a broader audience.

Individual speedskaters who raise money on RallyMe will be featured on a team partner page. Contributors will receive official team gear.

U.S. speedskaters have won 85 Olympic medals, but the sport has been marred by organizational infighting in recent months.

A group of short track skaters who filed a grievance claiming U.S. Speedskating was incapable of carrying out its financial and managerial requirements as a governing body reached a resolution in the dispute last month. As part of the settlement, U.S. Speedskating agreed to undertake specific measures designed to increase transparency, improve its internal grievance process and strengthen future team selection procedures.