Skater makes cheeky contribution
CHEEKY ART: Timaru artist Marita Bool is making a ceramic of world champion speedskater Nicole Begg's bottom, which will be sold at the Rotary Charity Auction. Photo - JOHN BISSET/ The Timaru Herald
Former world champion speed skater Nicole Begg is not shy when it comes to charity.
The 24-year-old had no hesitation when it came to having a ceramic cast made of one of her better assets for the annual Rotary Timaru auction next month.
The South Canterbury Roller Skating Club is one of the two big organisations to benefit from the auction as it works to complete its world-class track on Caroline Bay, along with the St John defribrillator project promoted by Timaru surgeon Steve Earnshaw.
Begg said she wanted to do something different, having donated, skates, skating lessons and photographs for other charity auctions.
"Skating will benefit so I was certainly keen to help," she said.
So she mentioned the idea to arty friend Liz Le Roy, who thought artist Marita Bool would be perfect for the task.
The plaster cast was made, making good use of cling film and the good weather, with the ceramic almost completed for the September 3 auction.
Bool said she had produced unusual things before, but this was certainly different.
"Liz really talked me into it and Nicole took it her stride."
Begg is not shy when it comes to publicity.
In 2007 she courted controversy as she strove to lift her international profile and that of her sport by undressing.
A world champion skater at that time, she had a series of racy shots done for overseas magazines and websites and appeared on The Herald's front page. Her motivation was simply to increase her profile in the hope of luring a sponsor and also to increase the promotion of inline skating.
It certainly worked and even Playboy magazine ran her in its sportsperson section in its international edition.
Since then Begg has let her skating do her talking.
She heads to Korea today to compete in the world championships, so will miss the auction, and also looks a shoo-in to take out the World Inline Cup marathon series in October.