Running Up Debt in Pursuit of Gold

It is not news anymore when a famed athlete goes bankrupt. Common reasons would be bad credit personal loan, overspending or poor investment choices. As a matter of fact, 60 percent of professional basketball players went bankrupt five years after they retire from the league. While some athletes are spending their way towards indebtedness, aspiring sportsmen are living on credit to pursue their dreams.

The recent 2016 Rio Olympics ended with spectacles and controversies. But underneath all these drama and media attention, there are Olympic athletes who lived in poverty in the pursuit of gold. Reports show that a lot of sportsmen who competed in Rio are living in or below the poverty line. Their only sources of income are prizes from competitions, sponsor contracts and part-time jobs. Some athletes are lucky enough to land big product endorsements. But for the rest, they have to manage living with their scarce income.

In order for an athlete to qualify for the Olympics, he/she has to train intensely. There are costs associated with this, of course. There is equipment to be purchased, fees for coaching and transportation outlays. If an athlete has no other means of income, there’s nothing much to do but live in debt.

According to The Guardian, at least 100 athletes created GoFundMe pages so that they can compete in the Rio Olympics. The gathered money was used for new equipment and basic living expenses while training.

Poor, World-Class Sportsmen

Vice Sports reported that Ivanie Blondin, one of the best long-track speed skaters in Canada, only makes a living out of her stipend. Athletes in the United States also experience the same penury. Based on the U.S. Athletic Trust, the U.S. Olympic Committee only spent $70 million for athlete support from 2009-2012. With lack of financial support from the government, no wonder that good athletes are washed out or are forced to give up their dreams.

Student-athletes are being faced with the same problems. Even if colleges offer free education, room and board to its student athletes, they still eked out from their daily lives. These aspiring sportsmen will have to manage their time from training, schooling and working on shifts just to make ends meet.