Financial hurdles: A major challenge for athletes pursuing the Olympic dream

Financial hurdles: A major challenge for athletes pursuing the Olympic dream

PAIRS-Ashley Uhl-Leavitt was granted a chance that most athletes can only imagine: the ability to represent her country in the 2024 Olympic Games. This Florida-based marathon runner is taking part in her first Olympic marathon competition, despite having participated in some of the world’s most renowned events, such as the New York City Marathon. Athletes and fans alike will gather in Paris, France, in less than a hundred days for an occasion that, throughout the contemporary Olympiad’s history, has been associated with uniting the world despite the severity of geopolitical conflicts on a worldwide scale.

Athletes and the olympic journey

Hundreds of thousands of individuals competed for a limited number of slots in the marathon. “It was a really slim chance,” Uhl-Leavitt said . However, a roadblock in the way of the games comes along with that blessing. How to pay for training and other expenses. “It takes a lot of time when I work on marathon builds,” she remarked. She works two jobs, one as a personal trainer and the other as a bartender in her hometown of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, which is about twenty miles (32 km) from Jacksonville. She needs to squeeze in training whenever she can. She used the crowdsourcing website GoFundMe to help with the transportation expenses to the games. It takes a full-time profession to train at this high level of athletics. Prior to the big day, athletes go to compete in several sports to perfect their talents. But having to choose between working and competing is almost impossible, as the majority of aspiring Olympians must pay for all of this effort on their own.

The price of pursuing Olympic dreams

Few people are able to secure a profitable company alliance. For instance, just five Olympians and Paralympians (the games for people with disabilities) are sponsored by Allianz Life Insurance Company. Athletes preparing for the Olympics are not paid. Limited stipend chances exist, but only after they’ve qualified for the games, which is a very unlikely feat. Stipends differ, but some can be as little as a few hundred dollars each month. Up until then, the training was paid for out of pocket. In the run-up to the games, almost 90% of all Olympians disclosed paying as much as $21,700 in competition fees and membership dues. More than 25% of American Olympians say their entire yearly income is less than $15,000.

A key barrier for Olympic hopefuls

Regarding medical costs, Olympic athletes claimed to have paid up to $9,200 out-of-pocket for injuries and received reimbursement for as little as 16 percent of the total, according to a report from the Commission on the State of US Olympics & Paralympics, an impartial panel that Congress appointed in 2020 (PDF). Uhl-Leavitt is among the several athletes who have used alternative funding sources to support their Olympic endeavors throughout the years. Another is Laredo, Texas fighter Jennifer Lozano, who claims on her crowdsourcing page to be the first in her hometown of south Texas to be given the opportunity to compete. Physically and mentally demanding training is necessary for Lozano, a 21-year-old who wants to win the gold. She starts at six a.m. every day. She receives a stipend from USA Boxing to help with daily expenses, such as vehicle payments during training and travel expenses to the competitions. Before formally qualifying for the squad in an international tournament in Santiago, Chile, in October 2023, she told Al Jazeera that she had been receiving a stipend for the previous eight months instead of money. She refused to disclose the stipend’s quantity and frequency.

Funding challenges along the Olympic path for athletes

Olympic athletes are affected by financial restraints, whereas other elite athletes, such as those in professional sports leagues, are not. Even athletes who do not participate in an official game receive a good salary in sports like American football. The most current collective bargaining agreement of the National Football Leagues stipulates that a player on the practice squad this season would make a minimum of $16,800 per week. Regarding Major League Baseball, for the 2024 season, players in their lower levels will get a minimum salary of $60,300. 

Call to action: Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024

Boycott Pairs olympics 2024 is going to be very necessary due to financial issues of the visitor because the ticket rates are going to be very high. The medal winners benefit financially from their participation at the games, while many Olympians do not. $37,500 is awarded to the winner of the gold medal, $22,500 to the silver, and $15,000 to the third place finisher. In this context, it indicates that the earnings of those who placed third are below the federal poverty threshold as it stands for one individual. In order to pay for rent in the United States, your income must be at least double that of a gold medallist.



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