Why Help Olympic & Paralympic Athletes
Our founder, Chris, created The US Athletes Hopeful Emergency Fund, because he was tired of seeing U.S. athletes launch GoFundMe pages to meet their financial obligations in order to represent Team USA at the Olympics. If it wasn’t for crowdfunding, many athletes have explained they would not have been able to afford some of their biggest expenses, like travel, training camps, and entry fees for competitions to adequately prepare to qualify for the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, Olympics sports are not generally looked at as TRUE professional sports and have a select few athletes who are NBA, MLB, NFL, or NHL – level earners. Without a formal relief fund in place, we are in danger of losing some of our most talented U.S. athletes.
We all know that famous professional athletes can make a great deal of money – sometimes more, even if they’re retired. For example, Michael Jordan, over ten years retired, made $90M in 2013 — conceivably more than all the athletes who competed in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics combined; however, with the exception of a select few, Olympic athletes tend to be nowhere near as fortunate financially. In fact, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) does not pay athletes a cent for their appearance in the Olympics. Athletes typically fund their way to the games either from their own pockets or through other means.
Unlike other countries, the United States is the only nation that does not provide federal financial support to its Olympic Committee. Instead, the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) depends solely on sponsors and the donations of others to fund support for Team USA.
Like almost everything surrounding COVID-19, the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics to 2021 was a serious economic blow, especially among the community of Olympic athletes and hopefuls.
The seasons and events for these Olympic hopefuls have been canceled for all sports. This means no appearance fees, no prize money, and no performance bonuses from sponsors. In the circumstance of many talented rising stars who are currently fresh out of the NCAA and for the time being unsponsored, they desperately need money during this transition period to continue training and showcase their talent for Team USA and obtain the attention of major brand sponsors when it comes time to compete.
Training for the Olympics is incredibly expensive. The cost for training fees, physical therapy sessions, equipment, coaching, transportation, nutrition, medical expenses, not to mention the typical costs of living truly adds up. Each cost listed is a necessary expense paid out of pocket by an athlete allowing him or her to perform at the highest level of their sport.
As so many families across America understand, if you’ve been expecting a paycheck that would cover all of your expenses for the next 12 months, and you find out at the last minute that you can’t get that paycheck for another year, regardless of how many side jobs you work, staying afloat for additional 365 days—day in and day out—with little to no income in an economy headed toward recession is an enormous task. Each day that an athlete does not have the means to practice or obtain treatment to heal from an injury, somebody else in the world is receiving the required support and getting ahead in preparation for Tokyo.