Ryan's Olympic Journey and Beyond

Hi, my name is Nikki Leonard and I am a pathology resident, now retired EMT, and most importantly, Ryan Pivirotto's fiance. He recently qualified for his second Olympics in short track speed skating and words cannot describe how proud I am of him.

Ryan started playing hockey at a young age before his small size and speed led him to short track speed skating in 2010. He progressed quickly, making his first world team in 2014. He made the decision to move to Korea to train full time in 2016-2018. After placing 5th at the 2018 Olympic Trials, Ryan traveled to Pyeongchang as part of Team USA. He was unfortunately not chosen to skate in the men's relay and didn't get a chance to compete at the games.

Following that season, Ryan faced disappointment to the point of depression and nearly gave up. With the support of family, friends, and coaches, he kept at it and continued to train with hopes of redeeming himself in 2022.

Although we are both from Michigan, the first time I noticed Ryan was at a preseason race in 2019. I had recently moved back to Utah after graduating medical school and was working as an EMT in my spare time to try to combat student loans. He caught my attention, but, since I'm an introvert, I admired him in silence. A few weeks later we found each other on a dating app and he admitted that he also noticed me that day. Fast forward through the early and prolonged stages of the COVID pandemic, and we got engaged in October of 2021, just before Ryan left for his world tour of Olympic qualifier races.

The weeked of Olympic Trials was maybe one of the most stressful of my life (yes, even after medical school). I knew how badly Ryan wanted to have another chance to make his dreams come true and earn the opportunity to skate at the Olympics. When he secured his spot I was filled with happiness and relief, and we shared a very special moment in the exact spot we first saw each other.

Just as people don't always realize doctors don't make a lot of money during residency, Olympians don't either. Ryan currently gets a small monthly stipend for 9 months of the year, averaging out to below minimum wage. His rigorous 6 day a week training schedule does not allow for him to have another job, and becuase of this he has missed out on years of opportunities to save up money for life beyond skating.

On top of training, Ryan has been working hard towards an Associate's degree in Computer Science over the past two years and plans to start pursuing his Bachelor's at the University of Utah in 2022. We've also set a wedding date for March 2023.

Please consider showing your support and appreciation for Ryan's hard work and dedication to achieving his dreams and representing the USA in two Olympic games. Any amount is much appreciated and the money donated will go towards equipment to prepare him for Beijing and his education costs to help him make up for lost time and set him up for a successful future.
  • Gregory Ferl 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Aviv Regev 
    • $500 
    • 4 mos
  • William Quinn 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Lisa Floryshak 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Nikki Leonard 
Sandy City, UT
Ryan Pivirotto