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USA Bobsled and Skeleton

Lending A Hand To Hoist Gold

Sept. 07, 2008, 12:02 a.m. (ET)
I recently came across an article that I had to share. Yes, this is another post that I didn't write, but it's something that every family member, friend, or fan should read. It will help clarify a very important subject among Olympic athletes.
Here it is:

Lending A Hand To Hoist Gold

Olympic athletes need help meeting financial demands

By Kevin Montford

Who watched the men’s 400-meter freestyle swimming relay during the Olympics? I was jumping out of my seat with my hand raised like a young first grader! These same events and incredible stories of our athletes are what made me, as a skinny 12-year old, tell my parents and all of my friends, “I want to be an Olympian when I grow up.” I chased this dream until just a few years ago and heck, with all of this Olympic spirit going on, I still have not given up at the age of 35. Can you say Dara Torres? Our athletes provide us with daily motivation to get up and be active, to go that extra mile and be the best we can be. They provide role models for our youth and good ol’ American pride. I believe most Americans have a misconceived notion that our Olympic athletes make large sums of money by doing what they do. This is just not the case. I would guess that 85 percent of the athletes make less than $15,000 a year and spend close to this to compete in their sport. Travel, equipment, coaching and nutritional needs are expenisve! While the US Olympic Committee and the National Governing Bodies provide support in the form of training facilities, room and board, coaching, and small stipends, compensation only for the very few athletes that can survive the extremely tough selection criteria year in and year out. Even with all of this they often come up short and must rely on parents and friends for support or work part-time jobs to help with financial demands needed to train and compete at this high level. I’m not saying that all athletes should be supported. The world of sports is cutthroat and the Olympic world is no exception. But there are a number of very talented athletes out there that don’t have the support structure that others do. Should they be forced to drop out because the economic playing field isn’t as level as the competitive field? We love to watch every two years and hear the stories of athletes overcoming adversity to triumph. There’s enough of a challenge in getting up every day, year after year, and going to practice. Qualified athletes shouldn’t also have to worry about how they’re going to eat at the end of the day. As Americans, we need to step up and stand by our athletes because when they win, we all win. By coming together as a country through both public and corporate support, we can continue our great Olympic traditions. We can be proud to have been a part of the incredible journey these athletes take on their way to becoming Olympians, as support is needed years before the medals are won. America For Gold is a new nonprofit created by athletes for athletes. We want to bridge the gap between what support is given and the support that is needed for all of our athletes, not just the stars of a select few sports. We are calling on America to join us in supporting qualified athletes by donating just $8 a month for one year. This money will be given directly to athletes through need based grants, allowing all of our athletes to train and compete at the highest level and ensure they continue to come home with the gold! For more information or to make a donation you can go to our Web site at www.AmericaForGold.org or call 719-473-4488
Thank you, Well said.
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