USA Wrestling World medalist wrest...

World medalist wrestler Mallory Velte receives Women’s Sports Foundation’s Travel & Training Fund Grant

By Women's Sports Foundation and USA Wrestling | Nov. 24, 2020, 3:39 p.m. (ET)

Mallory Velte of the USA at the 2017 Senior World Championships. UWW photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

2018 World bronze medalist women’s freestyle wrestler Mallory Velte has received a 2020 Travel & Training Fund Grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF).

Velte was among 15 individual athletes and two women’s teams who will split a total of $75,000 as part of this popular and successful program. This year’s group of recipients includes hopefuls for the upcoming 2021 and 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation is a very interesting organization that I have enjoyed being more involved with. There are numerous inspiring women who are affiliated with the Women’s Sports Foundation. I find it to be a group of successful women who are making a difference. I am very honored to be selected for this grant and am grateful for the support. I appreciate the kinship and connection there, and am excited to be able to network more and build my personal skills,’ said Velte.

Fueled by WSF National Partner Gatorade®, the Fund is designed to support women athletes with elite potential who have financial need and would otherwise be unable to afford basic necessities such as coaching, travel and equipment – vital to achieve even higher performance levels and rankings.

In addition to winning a World bronze medal at 62 kg at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Velte was also a member of the 2017 U.S. Senior World Team. She most recently won a gold medal at the 2020 Pan American Championships, and has won a number of other international medals. A three-time WCWA college national champion for Simon Fraser, she was also fifth at the 2015 Junior World Championships. Velte won two California CIF girls state individual titles for Christian Brothers High School.

Velte is a member of USA Wrestling’s Board of Directors, and is a leader on USA Wrestling’s Athlete Advisory Committee. She is also active in the athlete movement of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Velte is also a member of USA Wrestling’s ad-hoc COVID-19 Advisory Committee, a group of leaders from the medical, science and government communities which has helped advise USA Wrestling during the current pandemic.

The cost to train and compete can be a challenge for every athlete and, given a historic bias toward men’s sports, that is often amplified for women. This year has been especially challenging as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have had a significant impact. In applying for the grant, many of this year’s recipients reported difficulties in gaining access to training facilities, a loss of sponsorships and lack of competitions.

In that vein, Velte plans to use her grant to spend additional training time with her personal coach Cleo Lane of the Titan Mercury WC. Lane has been instrumental in helping Velte become a world-class wrestler and top Olympic hopeful. A native of Sacramento, Calif., Velte trains in Vancouver, B.C., where she attended college at Simon Fraser. Lane lives in California, so Velte plans to use her grant funds to cover the travel and expenses of additional training opportunities with her coach leading up to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April.

WSF, an ally, advocate and catalyst in women’s sports, is the first organization to ever offer grants to elite women athletes, building a three-decade legacy that remains as important today as it was at inception. The Foundation is driven to help advance and inspire women athletes while making the playing field more inclusive. Funding these athletes helps ensure an ongoing pipeline of role models and inspiration for girls on fields, courts, in gyms and pools across the country, chasing similar dreams and aspirations.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life,” said WSF CEO, Deborah Antoine. “The financial burdens of competing at an elite level, ideally, should not be a limiting barrier to an athlete or team achieving their best. We believe in the power of women athletes to show the world what they can do, and to show young girls what they too can become. We are so very proud of the Olympic, Paralympic and National Championship legacy of our Travel & Training Fund, and we are eternally grateful for the support of our National Partner, Gatorade.”

The 2020 class of grant recipients are a diverse representation of women athletes across sports. Of the 52 athletes who will benefit from WSF and Gatorade’s support - 15 individual athletes, the remainder via teams - six compete in adaptive sports. Further, the 13 sports represented are comprised of eight summer and five winter sports.

Since its inception in 1984, WSF has awarded Travel & Training Fund grants to more than 1,500 individual athletes and teams. Many of these athletes went on to capture national championships and Olympic and Paralympic medals, including: figure skaters Michelle Kwan and Tarah Kayne, diver Mary Ellen Clark, track sprinter Scout Bassett, bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, softball player Rachel Garcia, the U.S. Women’s National Water Polo Team and U.S. Deaf Soccer Women’s National Team.

The grants, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, help keep elite women athletes on track to compete at the highest levels in their sport. Which in turn, it also helps prepare them for leadership roles now and in the future, beyond the competition. Athletes interested in applying for next year’s grant cycle can find information here.

2020 Travel & Training Grant Recipients

Training for 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Gwendolyn Berry, The Woodlands, TX - Track & Field
Amy Dixon, Encinitas, CA - Paratriathlon
Alanna Flax-Clark, Granada Hills, CA – Para-Equestrian
Josephine Fouts, San Diego, CA – Para-Cycling
Sophia Herzog, Poncha Springs, CO – Para Swimming
Maggie Malone, Birmingham, AL - Track & Field
Nia Toliver, Los Angeles, CA - Rugby
Mallory Velte, Sacramento, CA - Wrestling
Roble Shea Sailing (team), Marco Island, FL – Sailing

Training for 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Danielle Aravich, Eagle, ID - Parabiathlon
Hailey Choi, Clifton, VA - Speed Skating
Kelly Curtis, Miami, FL - Skeleton
Hannah Halvorsen, Anchorage, AK - Cross Country Skiing
Alysa Liu, Oakland, CA - Figure Skating
Audrey Lu, Frisco, TX - Figure Skating
Joy Rondeau, Granby, CO – Parabiathlon
Training for 2021 Rugby World Cup
USA Rugby Women's National Team XVs, Lafayette, CO - Rugby

About Women’s Sports Foundation

The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports.® To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.