The Extreme Stakes of Becoming an Olympian

As we are all glued to our televisions to find out which country will reign supreme, there isn’t much known about the high costs just to compete in this amazing event. Many will go for years to try and get onto their countries team but it isn’t poor effort that can keep them out of the running. What most don’t realize is the sheer expense to becoming an Olympic athlete is a costly one that leaves even the most optimistic hopeful, crawling away.

If it takes a big budget to become an athlete, how do the lucky ones become rich and famous, with enough assets to keep them set for a lifetime? Endorsements, which means that another company sponsors you, is a deal that every hopeful hopes they get signed to. If you have found that you start chewing your fingernails when you think about a job interview, you have no idea what the applicants in the Olympics have to face. In most instances, the funding to get an Olympic level athlete trained and prepared will come from the pocketbook of the parents, adding extra strain on the family.

It can take up to, and this isn’t even the highest number, one-hundred thousand dollars, just to get a shot at competing. If you were to lose this competition, you have just blown the money needed to tryout at the Olympics, better luck in the next four years, right? If you are one that competes in sports, during only one season, it takes four years to try over and you thought getting a letter that you didn’t get that job was bad! Imagine putting your entire life savings into taking on the entire world, so to speak.

At this moment, there is no real avenue for Olympic hopefuls to get funded, meaning that we could be missing out on the best athletes in the universe, because they don’t have their own private source of funding. It can take an entire decade, made entirely of training and being determined, before anyone can obtain that dream success that changes lives. While all stand on the starting line, in amazing condition, waiting for the sound of the starting siren, only one or two could be fortunate enough to get that coveted spot on a Wheaties box. There have been voices raised about the unfair practices that one must go through, just to be looked at seriously by a sporting committee. I know that I couldn’t have raised what it took to go to the Olympics once, can you imagine the poor families who try, more than once, to get their family member closer to Olympic stardom?

I’ve read about athletes, who are already spending most of their free time practicing, having to get a full-time job, just to help cover the fees associated with becoming an Olympian. I wish there was some scholarship program that could provide the raw talent of these young athletes, with a less financially troubling path to take. In alleys behind buildings, old outdoor parks, and garages all across the country, there are those who want to compete for their country and win. Why are we letting the money that it costs to enter hold back talent that wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth? If we had a system to track applicants, solely on talent, perhaps USA would run off with even more medals than we already have, at this point.

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