The last few weeks of preparation and documents and arrangements have flown by, and it’s hard to believe that I will be entering the Olympic bubble in Beijing in just one week! I have my two required PCR test appointments for this week, but other than that, I will just be hunkering down this week and tackling the to-do list. I am very excited to attend my first Olympic Games as an accredited photographer. It is a dream that I have had for so many years.

Over the past week or so, as I have taken stock of how much the cost of everything for this trip has risen, I have made the decision to do a bit of crowdfunding.

Like many of the “regulars” in skating media, I cover international and national events because I am passionate about the sport, about capturing it and sharing it with others, and about making sure that all participants are recognized at event (not just the medalists). I usually cover my own costs at events and I give my photos to the websites that I work with on a regular basis, like and Figure Skaters Online. I try to pick up a few other assignments, and some of those do pay, although they never come close to covering the costs of attending large events. I’m also not allowed to sell photos taken at large events commercially without special permission; they are only for editorial purposes. It is how I love to give back to the sport and the people that have given me so much.

For the Olympic Games in particular, I started dreaming about this trip in 2016, after I learned that I had missed the deadline to apply for the 2018 Games, and my husband and I have been saving and budgeting for this trip since then. We originally planned to make it a family trip, but the pandemic prevented that, and it also changed a lot of my travel plans. I wasn’t able to execute the more modestly budgeted trip that I had planned, and while many accredited folks in the media will have expense accounts covering their travel and meals, I am taking care of all of these costs on my own. I expect that the actual costs will be at least twice my original budget, perhaps more.

After considering my goals and how different people might like to help support them, I chose a couple of different avenues for support.

Profile photo from Patreon & text: Melanie Heaney is creating figure skating photographyPatreon
Patreon is a platform where subscribers (“Patrons”) can support content creators on a monthly basis. It is used by all sorts of freelance individuals, many of them in the arts. Having an advance idea of monthly support can help me plan ahead and hopefully get back to traveling on a smaller budget, pandemic restrictions aside. I would love to be able to commit to photographing more events each year, especially if I can photograph a wider range of up-and-coming skaters that I don’t usually get to see.

You can support my efforts for as little as $5/month. Supporting me on Patreon will give you access to additional photo galleries and a couple of other thank-you gifts at the higher tiers.

Read more about my Patreon subscriptions here.

For those who are interested in making a one-time contribution for my Olympic travels, I’ve also created a Gofundme fundraiser. Absolutely any amount is helpful, and I am so grateful. I will close this fundraiser if I cover my expenses, or if I am able to pick up enough extra work.

Contribute to the Gofundme fundraiser here.

Social Media (Non-Monetary)
You can also help me by following and interacting with my social media accounts during the Olympics. This is where I’m starting to get more work lately, and having a bigger following during figure skating’s marquee event will only help. I’ll be posting regularly during the Olympics; I’m so excited to share some of my best work and my experiences at the Games.

Instagram: @mheaneyphoto
Facebook: @mheaneyphoto
Twitter: @mheaneyphoto

I don’t have TikTok, but maybe I’ll finally get the nerve to learn how to do it? I do have a lot of dorky dance moves.

You can also follow along with my Games coverage on’s social accounts (@icedancecom) and on the IDC website.

If you choose to help me in any way, I am so incredibly grateful. I wouldn’t be here without the army of supporters that have been behind me for the past 15 years, and I am so thankful for all of you.