Monday, October 22, 2012

An athletes financial woes

The life of an elite athlete is not always as glamorous as it sounds.  It is a life of financial struggle and sacrifice.  I have been very fortunate in the past years to have the support of Amory and In The Arena as well as the support of the Olympic Committee through training center housing.  Not all Olympic athletes are lucky enough to have this kind of support and have to do whatever it takes to find the funding to take their training to the next level.

A friend of mine, Liz, an all around awesome person and incredible discus thrower just recently moved to Portland to work with a high level discus coach.  She placed an honorable 5th at the Olympic Trials and now is making this move to intensify her training and make a solid push for Rio 2016.  On top of a costly move Liz also needs to pay for her housing, food, training and recovery tools.  One would think that being ranked 5th in the nation would warrant some kind of financial support, but unfortunately she is still stuck right outside of the money. 

It is incredible to me that most Olympians and Olympic hopefuls live below the poverty line and have to almost beg friends and family to help fund a dream.  Many athletes like Liz look for odd jobs like paper routes, flower delivering and late night shelf stocking that fit in with training and recovery.  It is essentially like trying to be successful at two full time jobs, which is virtually impossible.  This is the major divider of Olympic and professional sports.  One is the pure pursuit of a dream and the other is a paycheck facilitating a dream.