Tony’s Art

Trying to become a national caliber speedskater is a tremendous challenge. I tend to write a lot about the physical, technical, mental, & emotional challenges in this blog.

But there is a a 5th challenge, financial. Sometimes that is the one that can prove the hardest. It certainly hurts in a way that feels worse to me than normal training pain.

Athletes who make the commitment to optimizing their athletic potential often need to become VERY creative (+ incredibly hardworking) in how they also earn a living in addition to full-time training.

One of the “new faces” at the Utah oval this year, Tony Sargent, has one of the most interesting ways of earning a living I have ever heard of.

Here is Mike Kooreman, holding the result of Tony’s unique skills. (click the image for a larger version):

Yes, Tony is an artist, and does commissioned portraits of athletes/families/etc.

Notable clients include pro golfers (Charles Howell III), pro football players (Barry Sanders) & pro basketball players. I’ve seen several examples of his work, this guy is really amazing.

I asked him how he got started in this, here was his response:

First of all, my dad has worked for the Oklahoma State Athletic Dept. for like 25 some years, so I have always known alot of the OSU athletes. In the summer of 2005, one of our players died in a car crash. I knew him pretty well, he was a great guy, but all I could think about was his dad and his family.

So I found some pics, locked myself in my room and started drawing, not really sure what the final picture was going to look like. After about 4 months and about 50 hours I finished it, and I wanted to give it to his father. I showed it to the coach and he came up with the idea of reproducing it and presenting the original to his dad at the opening game.

We made 1000 copies to sell at multiple stores in Oklahoma, with all the proceeds going to his scholarship fund. I presented it to his dad the first game of the year, and let’s just say that when the game was over we had made about $10,000 for the Vernon Grant scholarship fund.

I couldn’t believe the lines in the store with everyone buying my art. The drawing got pretty good publicity, It got in all the Oklahoma papers, news stations, and even was on sportscenter.

I am working on building a web page for my art, but probably won’t have one till summer. You can contact me at theartofchampions@yahoo.com

Since leaving Oklahoma and moving to Utah, throwing himself headfirst into elite training commitments, Tony has improved dramatically.

I wish him all the best, and success in skating & his art.

5 Responses to “Tony’s Art”

  1. Some of the professions or ways of making money are as obscure as the sport we train for and compete in. That is a really nice drawing of a STer by the way!! good on you Tony!

    Tony for those of you who don’t know him is one of the nicest people I’ve known to skate with. He doesn’t think of himself at all like some others I’ve met who seem to say without actually saying “I’m a speed skater on the national team” with their noses high in the air.

  2. Tony I am so happy for you because you are a fantastic artist. Keep up the good work skating and drawing!

  3. Would be nice to see that ability of sketching be transformed into an animated movie, or even promo video for speedskating. That would send shivers down my spine watching something like that. Keep up the good work!

  4. In this country its not the tallent that drives this sport but the ability to afford to train. Sad that more cant be done to help those whom want to train more..

    but in this obscure sport few if any will sponsor someone and great athleats are forgotten hours after there race..

    Strange ? the most powerful nation on earth and over 300 million people. yet it remains a quite obscure sport ? with little to know fallowing in the U.S.

    maby someday it will find its self just a little more main stream yet remain a gentalmens sport..

    good chance it won’t “O” well..

  5. Man, Dude I’m so proud of you getting on the site! Looks like your advancing your drawings everyday, they look incridible. I’ll keep ya in my prays, and hope to see ya soon.

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