“My parents have been so supportive of me,” she said. “They have done everything they can to help make whatever dreams I have come true.”
Chappell is seeking sponsors to help defray the expenses required to make the Olympic team. Many Auto Valet Car Wash customers have chipped in to help, and Seth Wadley Ford is a consistent supporter.
She plans to promote her sponsors by putting logo patches on her gi, or judo uniform, and by making a T-shirt with patches. Chappell also is developing a website and has a Facebook page to update friends and family on her progress.
One of the hardest things about making the move to Colorado is leaving behind teammates she’s known since she started training and the Burrises.
“I have grown up with sensai Pat and sensai Kristi. They are like my second parents,” Chappell said. “(Patrick Burris) always told me, ‘You be the first one (at the gym) and the last to leave.’”
She said she hopes to have lots of visitors from her Oklahoma gym in Colorado.
“I’ll always have space on my couch for anyone who comes to Colorado,” she said.
Chappell plans to give back in any way she can.
“I want to be able to give back to everyone who has helped me and be a good role model,” she said.
She has some advice for aspiring judo athletes.
“Follow your dreams and don’t give up,” Chappell said. “Do what makes you happy.”
Those interested in helping sponsor Chappell can reach her at 640-2852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.