February 9, 2006
This Olympic 'souvenir' is skin deep
Cross-country skier's dad gets tattoo in her honour
CARY CASTAGNA -- Edmonton Sun

Frank Ammar is so proud of his Olympian daughter that he got tattooed in her honour.

The 45-year-old father of cross-country skier Amanda Ammar is sporting a tattoo on his upper back, complete with her nickname "Nan," the Canadian cross-country ski logo and the Olympic rings.

"That's how proud I am of my daughter," Frank told the Sun yesterday from his acreage near Onoway, 70 km northwest of Edmonton.

The proud papa said he promised Amanda years ago that if she ever made the Olympics, he would get inked.

She qualified in December at the World Cup competitions in Canmore, so Frank - true to his word - went to an Edmonton tattoo shop last month to get his first and only tattoo.

"A deal's a deal," he said, adding Amanda, 20, has yet to see her father's permanent testament to her because she's been training in Europe. "She knows I've got it done."

Amanda's mom, Jody, 48, said she's tickled at her daughter's success.

"I haven't felt like this since I gave birth to her. It's just that indescribable feeling of joy."

She said she considered getting a tattoo, like Frank's, but kidded she "thought Frank could have the glory there."

Amanda's Olympic aspirations first surfaced "in kindergarten or Grade 1" about 15 years ago, when she drew a picture of a skier and the Olympic rings, Frank recalled.

"I used to always say to her, 'Yup, one day you'll go to the Olympics,' " said Frank, who put his daughter on cross-country skis when she was three years old and recognized her talent as she got older.

But Frank admits he never thought it would happen this soon. He said he always figured Amanda's Olympic debut would come in 2010 or 2014.

"Onoway is just pumped and proud that she's in the Olympics. This was a shock to everybody," Frank said.

Amanda, who turned 20 on Monday, is a member of the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club and was coached by her father in her early years.

The five-foot-two skier, who finished sixth in the 5-km classic race at the recent World Junior Championships in Slovenia, is aiming for a top-30 finish in Turin. She's slated to race Feb. 16 in the 10-km classic.

Frank isn't the only proud parent of a cross-country skier.

Walter and Jan Scott are travelling to Turin to cheer on their 31-year-old daughter, Beckie Scott. The product of Vermilion, 190 km east of Edmonton, hopes to defend her Olympic gold medal in pursuit.

"To say we get excited is an understatement," Walter, 70, told the Sun. "I'm nervous already."

The Winter Olympics kick off tomorrow with the opening ceremonies.







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