Todd Sand, Olympic skater, coach, in ICU after heart attack; family grateful for support
Todd Sand, a retired U.S. Olympic pairs’ figure skater and current coach, is “fighting for his life” in an intensive care unit in Canada after complications from a heart attack last Thursday, a coaching colleague said.
Sand, 59, had a heart attack while in Calgary to coach at the world junior championships and was hospitalized.
Christine Fowler-Binder, who coaches pairs’ figure skaters with Sand and Sand’s wife, Jenni Meno, published a fundraiser on Wednesday “for Todd and his family to help support them with the enormous expenses associated with his medical care and recovery.”
Fowler-Binder confirmed Thursday afternoon that Sand is still in the ICU recovering from the heart attack. The public support for Sand has been overwhelming -- more than $100,000 from more than 800 donors as of Thursday afternoon. The fundraiser goal is $500,000 for the out-of-country medical costs.
“It is amazing, and [Meno] appreciates everyone’s support,” Fowler-Binder said.
One of the teams that Meno and Sand coach, Sophia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev, won the world junior pairs’ title last Thursday night after Sand had a heart attack that morning.
“We skated for Todd and for everyone that has helped us through the season,” Tioumentsev said after winning, according to the International Skating Union (ISU). “It was very hard, and we tried to remember what Todd told us – to stay in the moment.”
Baram said through tears, “We are sending a lot of prayers, and today we skated for him and for everyone who supported us. We love you Todd,” according to the ISU.
Meno and Sand also coach reigning senior U.S. and world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier.
“The love for Todd is endless,” Knierim posted on social media on Wednesday. “His kindness and light shine brighter than any other. Due to the severity of Todd’s condition we are asking everyone to come together to help Todd, Jenni, and the boys. We will continue to do whatever it takes to support them as they are family.”
Frazier called Sand “everything a student and friend could ask for.”
“As most of you know and are aware our beloved coach and friend Todd Sand has suffered a very serious heart attack that has put his life in jeopardy,” Frazier posted on social media. “We sincerely ask for any help that can be given with donations. Although no amount of money could equal the amount of love we all have for this man we hope that we can unite together to help Todd and his family anyway possible. Every little bit helps in such a huge way and would be extremely grateful for any contributions made for Todd. This man has touched so many lives on and off the ice and more importantly is the most loving person that anyone could have in their life.”
Sand competed at the Olympics in 1992 with Natasha Kuchiki and in 1994 and 1998 with Meno, whom he married in 1995, with a best finish of fifth.
He also won four U.S. titles and four world championships medals, the latter the most by a U.S. pairs’ figure skater over the last 70 years.