I thought that the United States Olympic Committee did a great job supporting our athletes.
Why do the athletes need additional help? In reality, the US Olympic Committee directs only a small portion of its revenues to direct athlete support. Their income is mostly used to support the USOC infrastructure that includes hundreds of dedicated professionals working in Colorado Springs and several USOC Training Centers around the country, all of which support our Olympic Team effort and many events in between the Games.
Currently direct athlete support levels vary by sport, but are typically reserved for athletes who have already made the U.S. team. Typical funding is $5,000-10,000 a year, which falls far short of covering athletes’ competition and training costs. While the USOC funnels funds to various organizations for specific programs, the bulk of these funds do not trickle down to athletes. American athletes receive a fraction of the support that their Western European counterparts do.
The USOC is currently strengthening their Development effort and earmarking its fruits for direct athlete support via The USOC Foundation. You can find out more on the USOC website or ask us for more information.
What percentage of The Chasing Gold budget will go directly to athlete support?
Our goal is to have 75 percent of individual donations go directly to our athletes. As we currently have no paid staff this is a goal we feel can be met and even exceeded in coming years. This level of support greatly exceeds the U.S. Olympic Committee’s donations to athletes, which amounts to only 6-14% of their expenses.
Who makes the decisions about the awarding of funding to athletes?
We currently have a selection committee in place that will make their recommendations to the board of directors. Together, they will determine who will receive funding and how much they will receive.
Selection Committee Members:
Dan LeFever – Assistant Track & Field Coach, Stanford University
Brett Unger – Former Track & Field Coach/Administration, Springdale Public Schools
Fiona Asigbee – Former heptathlete for the University of Missouri who went on to become an Olympic hopeful. She is now a Nutritional Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow
Christina Stumbaugh – Founder, VP of the Board, The Chasing Gold Project
Lance Stumbaugh – Speed & Strength Trainer, Founder, The Chasing Gold Project
I thought Olympic athletes were supposed to be amateurs. Isn’t it against the rules to provide them with money?
Amateurism began to fade from the Olympic movement in the 1960s. Today, most international governing bodies of Olympic sports allow athletes to earn income from their sport without forfeiting their Olympic eligibility.
In fact, in certain sports, such as Triathlon, athletes must compete in what is considered the “professional” category in order to even qualify for the Olympic Games. In most European countries, national lotteries and large sports organizations give Olympic aspirants cash stipends of $20,000 to $40,000 per year beyond health insurance, equipment, training, and competition costs.