News / USA

Athletes Get Creative to Fund Olympic Trip

Hopefuls must pay for London ticket without official US support

Olympian Nick Symmonds sports the Hanson Dodge Creative logo, after the company won an eBay auction on his left shoulder.
Olympian Nick Symmonds sports the Hanson Dodge Creative logo, after the company won an eBay auction on his left shoulder.
Tom Banse

For American athletes, dreams of Olympic glory usually include scrounging for dollars. In the United States, the government provides no training support for Olympic-caliber athletes, so some elite athletes have developed creative personal fundraising ideas.

For 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds, the road to London goes through Kansas, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, where track meets will be held before the U.S. Olympic team trials in Eugene, Oregon, this June.

At the Kansas meet, where Symmonds finished in the middle of the pack, he wore a temporary tattoo of a twitter handle on his shoulder.

"I actually put my shoulder up for auction on eBay this last January," Symmonds says, "with more of the intention of raising awareness to the struggles athletes go through as they try to make ends meet and prepare for their Olympic dream."

A marketing agency from Wisconsin bought the ad space on his shoulder.

"Ultimately, Hanson Dodge Creative won with a bid of $11,100," Symmonds says, "which was significantly more than what I ever thought a couple square inches of my left shoulder would be worth."

This auction is one of the more creative gambits by America’s Olympic hopefuls. In some respects, Symmonds is better off than most. He has enough sponsorship so he can train for the London Games full time. Other athletes juggle hours of daily workouts and out-of-state competitions with part-time jobs that don't quite make ends meet.

In Seattle, distance runner Rose Wetzel and hurdler Falesha Ankton recently scheduled a joint fundraiser at a cocktail lounge.

"It felt kind of weird to have a fundraiser for myself and for my goals," Wetzel says. "But more and more people said that it was a great idea and that they wanted to support me and support us."

Wetzel also resolved her qualms by donating a third of the proceeds from the drink specials, ring toss and raffle to the Special Olympics.

Olympic long jump hopeful Norris Frederick (in white jacket) poses with "celebrity dates" at a fundraising auction in Seattle.
Olympic long jump hopeful Norris Frederick (in white jacket) poses with "celebrity dates" at a fundraising auction in Seattle.

 

Former University of Washington standout Norris Frederick hopes to punch his ticket to London in the long jump.

His fundraising hook was a celebrity date auction. You could bid to go out with the Olympic hopeful himself, or other famous athletes from the school, or members of the female Seattle Mist lingerie football team.

There's no lingerie on javelin thrower Cyrus Hostetler's personal website, but there are lots of bulging biceps. The site promotes his Olympic quest and solicits donations.

"Some sponsored athletes, they've got it made," Hostetler says. "They've got all the equipment they need. But when you’re still trying to make your mark in history and make those big throws, you've got to make you own ends meet. I've been trying to do that through my own website."

Eugene, Oregon's Cyrus Hostetler is a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team in javelin.
Eugene, Oregon's Cyrus Hostetler is a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team in javelin.

 

For a while, the University of Oregon grad posted his monthly budget in all its frugal detail.

"I struggle to make rent, to make food payments, things like that," Hostetler says. "I just want it to be an open book."

Unlike competitors in some other sports powers around the world, U.S. Olympic athletes receive no government support.

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Jones says American athletes sometimes have to be more creative than others to support themselves, but he wouldn't say team USA is at a disadvantage.

"It's hard to argue that our system is broken when our teams have been as successful as they have been over the last several quadrenniums," he says.

Jones hasn't heard of any American athletes going as far as a luge racer from Tonga, in the South Pacific. Born Fuahea Semi, he legally changed his name to that of his sponsor, Bruno Banani. In case you don't recognize it, that's a German underwear and swimsuit brand.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid