Settle an argument, please. Olympic coaches, who pays?

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Posted 8/2/2012 by Anna*Banana in NSBR Board
 

Anna*Banana
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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:32:13 PM
Specifically, the female gymnasts, who pays for their training and their trainers? Is it the parents or the US Gymnastic organization? And who funds the US Gymnastic org?

Mr. AB says it's the US Gymnastic Org and I say it's the parents or private funding that pays for all the special trainers and all the years of training they've had.

I recognize the US Olympic committees probably supply a coach that probably overseas once the teams qualify, but really neither of us know how the coaching works for the athletes in any of the sports. Who pays for all the coaching?

ETA: I do know that in the equine sports the owners and the riders pay for their training unless they qualify for special grants or developing athletes but it's limited. And the eventing teams have a chef d'equipe and dressage has an coach once chosen.


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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:35:27 PM
I think it's the parents. Because almost all of them have been on tv talking about what a huge financial commitment it is and about worries on how they will pay their other bills.



liasmommy2000
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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:41:43 PM
I've always thought it was the parents. You hear of families with 2nd and 3rd mortgages etc. I can't imagine.

I think once they are contenders for the Olympics there may be small funding options but nothing big. However I'm so far from an expert I really don't know!


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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:48:51 PM
When NBC ran a story on Gabby Douglas the mom mentioned how difficult the huge financial commitment is so I'm thinking it's the parents.


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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:53:57 PM
My brother-in-law is a coach in the Olympic Development Program in soccer and he gets $50/hour for private sessions with his players. He works with very elite players who are trying to make the national teams. That's just one example...but my point is that it's mostly the parents. Having a child who is an elite athlete of any type is a huge financial commitment! The whole family has made years' worth of sacrifices for that athlete's dream to come true.


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Anna*Banana
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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:55:37 PM
Yeah, I think Mr. AB is delusional thinking that the coaching is covered by the US. When he first said that, I asked him, "What? Where did you get that idea from??? It's like sports Toddlers and Tiaras. The families pay, I'm pretty sure." I got a sour look from him.


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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:57:00 PM
Parents. Sponsors. The athletes themselves. Some are university students who are supplied coaches that way. Others work in addition to their training.

In China, though, for example, the government pays for everything.


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Luvnlifelady
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Posted: 8/2/2012 8:57:20 PM
I thought I heard that there is some financial help once they get to a certain level. This was in ice skating. However, the expense seems so huge that I imagine there is still plenty the family is responsible for. That's a shame if it eliminates kids that otherwise could be Olympic contenders.



bobbie01
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Posted: 8/2/2012 10:20:33 PM
I just read that Gabby Douglas' parents still owe her VA coach $20,000.00 so I'm guessing it's the families who pay.


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Posted: 8/2/2012 10:22:48 PM
It's the parents, mostly, and it's really hard. I have a friend whose daughter figure skates, and she'd love to compete nationally and get into the Olympic "track," so to speak, but it's just prohibitively expensive for her.

Makes you wonder how many athletes we miss out on because of the money. I don't know what the solution is to that, but it's kind of sad.


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Posted: 8/2/2012 10:30:51 PM

I thought I heard that there is some financial help once they get to a certain level. This was in ice skating. However, the expense seems so huge that I imagine there is still plenty the family is responsible for. That's a shame if it eliminates kids that otherwise could be Olympic contenders.


A close friend's daughter is a figure skater, and will go to the next National (in Canada). She's not likely to be an olympic contender at any point, but she's on that pathway. Her family pays everything, unless she gets sponsorship. She receives cheaper ice-time now that she's in University and it's subsidized as a student, but her big expense (coaching) is paid for by her family.

I think it's a pretty rare athlete who has a free ride, and those are only the very very high-profile sports (and usually male sports).



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Posted: 8/2/2012 10:53:51 PM
Parents! If your child gets selected for Future Stars or an elite squad training, you pay. You pay to fly to bfe Texas or New York, you pay for the camp, you pay for the coach to fly and their fee, you pay, pay, pay. Many girls who are selected cannot, so they don't go.

It's heart breaking sometimes.

Some families bet it all and mortgage their house, etc, only to see an injury ruin it all. It's like poker, with your kid, a little bit. Normally, the kids who go farthest are those with well off families (ie, a house to mortgage), and are also those who hit that perfect combination of right age, right body, right gym.

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Posted: 8/2/2012 11:07:11 PM
My understanding is that it's the parents as well. That's why they always refer to them as their "personal coach." There is an overall coach (Marta Karoyli, maybe?) for the women's team, but they each have their own coach who comes out during their individual performances. Some of them do have the same personal coach.


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justalittletike
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Posted: 8/2/2012 11:27:17 PM
Back in the day my parents paid 250+ a month for team (competition level) not counting travel, uniforms, grips and anything else.

Once you get up to Elite levels and optional it is much much more plus you pay lodging, choreography, private session, gym time ... Uh it goes on and on

Sometimes though you can get a company sponsor to help foot it


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Posted: 8/2/2012 11:27:42 PM
Marta Karoyli is the US team coordinator. She is the one who has the final word who is on the US team.

I can't really understand bankrupting your family to go to the Olympics especially when there is more than one kid. Oh Johnny sorry you can't go to college because we are still paying for Susies' coaches.

With the US woman's winning gold, they will get sponsorship deals no matter how they do individually. Often going into the Olympics they have deals that are if you get Bronze you get this much, silver this much and Gold this much. Part of the reason they loosened up the rules on "pro" athletes for the US is because it was so expensive and they were at a disadvantage to other countries who do sponsor their athletes.

gryroagain
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Posted: 8/2/2012 11:35:17 PM
For 2016? Way more than 100, more like 5000.

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Posted: 8/2/2012 11:38:32 PM
Kristi Yamaguchi's dad was my DH's dentist growing up and he said it was like sending her to Harvard for 12 years in terms of cost. Those were the days when you really had to be an amateur to be in the Olympics, so no money was made before then.

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Posted: 8/3/2012 12:19:52 AM
When we toured the Olympic Training Center in Colorado last month, the guide said that everything is covered while the athletes are there (housing, food, medical), and they receive a stipend in addition. The Olympic Training Centers are not funded by the government, but receive donations from corporate sponsors and individuals (as well as revenue from merchandise).

The guide also told us that Apolo Ohno lived at the Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs for eight years.

Not all athletes train at the Training Centers though. Each sport has its own governing body, and can decide who is eligible. I imagine that each sport's governing body can also decide whether or not to financially support athletes and to what level. There is also a long road to get to the Olympic level.

Both my brother and my sister were on national teams (Olympic teams basically, but in non-Olympic years). All of their expenses were taken care of while they were on the teams. My brother went to some Junior Olympic camps when he was a kid, and those expenses were taken care of as well because he was considered a top prospect in his age group.

One of our family friends won a gold medal today! She was on the women's eight team for rowing. Taylor got a lot of her coaching while on Yale's team. Her sister McLane is on Yale's team now. While the Olympic team trains together, the USOC pays for everything. I know that there is a rowing training facility in Chula Vista, California, but I don't know how long most people spend there before the Olympics (I think Taylor has been there since she graduated from college in 2010).

Missy Franklin is a part of the Colorado Stars Swim Team and she swims for her high school. I imagine that her coaching hasn't been any more expensive than a typical high-school kid's fees who does club and high school sports.

Of course, sports like gymnastics and figure skating would be more expensive for the athletes who are still up and coming.

AND the USOC awards MONEY to athletes for medals. $25,000 for each gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze! Some countries pay their athletes much larger bonuses (but in the U.S., they have to pay taxes on the award AND on the value of the medal). There are also some sport-specific bonuses in addition to bonuses for those who have corporate sponsors. While accepting many types of sponsors and/or pay (even for public-speaking engagements) would disqualify an athlete from high school or college competition, winning medals and accepting the stipends does not.

Here's a document from US Swimming that gives you an idea of how things work at least there:
US Swimming Athlete Funding

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Posted: 8/3/2012 7:13:05 AM
A co-worker's husband was on the US Rowing team in Anthens. I asked her about this. In his case, he was employed by US Rowing and didn't have to provide his own coaches but she said in the case of gymnasts they provide their own coaches at their own expense.



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Posted: 8/3/2012 7:19:41 AM

Missy Franklin is a part of the Colorado Stars Swim Team and she swims for her high school. I imagine that her coaching hasn't been any more expensive than a typical high-school kid's fees who does club and high school sports.


This is unusual for a swimmer of her calibre and some have criticized her parents for not sending her away to train with an elite-level coach.

Continuing to swim for her high school and planning to swim in college restricts her ability to accept outside financial support.

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Posted: 8/3/2012 7:29:27 AM
It is the parents.

Example: John Orozco's (US gymnast) were struggling to pay the mortgage and everything else. They didn't want to worry John with that so he could concentrate on training, but he over heard them one night talking about it. He went to the gym, asked for a job, and then paid the mortgage (or at least helped with it) by giving his parents his entire first pay check. He now trains at the OTC in Colorado Springs. He has a sponser (Choboni) that pays for training. They also paid his parents' way to London and found sponsors to sponsor his 3 siblings. John has often been quoted as saying that he wanted to use these Olympics as a stepping stone to help his family not struggle money wise anymore and move out of the Bronx.

ETA: Gabby Douglas lives with a house family in Des Moines, IA to train at Chow's while the rest of her family is in VA Beach. It has been that way for a few years. I don't know about the specifics though other than Gabby wanted to move to train with Coach Chow (aka Shawn Johnson's coach).




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Posted: 8/3/2012 7:34:49 AM
It's definitely the parents who pay.

And if you are very lucky, like Gabby was, you find a "host" family to live with while training under your coach of choice. She moved to Des Moines, Iowa, from Southern VA at 14 to pursue her dream.

We just found out DD competed against her when they were little! lol. She was from Excalibur Gymnastics in Southern Virginia. I remember seeing their team at our gym for meets. They were a great team. (DD's beloved coach came from there, too. His daughter is currently at Level 10 and is hoping for her break; she was on Gabby's team in 2004.)

Our friend from the same gym DD went to has just moved to one of the big gyms in Texas. He left for better coaching ops, like Gabby did. He is a level 10 and at age 12 made the Men's National Team last year. He WILL be at the Olympic qualifiers. Can't wait to see him grow. web page

And his entire family has moved as well. The only way they were able to keep the family together is that his dad's company let him transfer to Texas. Most of the time the families get split up.

Yes, it's the extreme sacrifice. But like Gabby's mom said in an interview recently, she couldn't deny her daughter's dream for the Olympics.



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Posted: 8/3/2012 8:19:47 AM
Olympics - expensive from any viewpoint. Very few can afford to compete, very few can afford to attend, and fewer and fewer can afford cable TV to just watch from home. It's becoming a rich person's entertainment.

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Posted: 8/3/2012 9:39:50 AM
NBC is not a cable station, unless something has changed in recent years that I don't know about.

Anna*Banana
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Posted: 8/3/2012 9:48:54 AM
Thanks everyone. Sounds like both Mr. AB and I are correct. Dang it, no tie breaker, lol, because what I'm hearing is that unless you qualify for a national team or are picked as a qualifier for further development, each sport having different criteria, your parents do pay. But it sounds like if you do qualify within your sport for some kind of further training or possible olympic/national representation, you can possibly live and train in their facility.

Sounds to me, like a whole lot of people keep trying even if they do not qualify or are willing to pay so they can have their own coaches. That is interesting...


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Posted: 8/3/2012 10:02:05 AM
The Olympics have always been a rich man's sport, especially when they were amateur only. Very few people have the money to support a child through that dream.

BTW, NBC may be a broadcast station but the vast majority of their coverage this year is on their cable stations and only those with cable and satalite subscriptions are allowed access to that content on their website. For those of us who don't have a tv subscription we get a very limited range of the sports broadcast. No fencing. No equestrian events. No Judo (not even with the gold medalist!) a minuscule amount of cycling. It's all swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball.


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Posted: 8/3/2012 10:08:20 AM

He went to the gym, asked for a job, and then paid the mortgage


Did this make anyone else cry? John Orozco's parents should be so proud!


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Posted: 8/3/2012 11:30:16 AM

This is unusual for a swimmer of her calibre and some have criticized her parents for not sending her away to train with an elite-level coach.

Continuing to swim for her high school and planning to swim in college restricts her ability to accept outside financial support
Yes, but she hasn't had to give up her life to persue swimming. She has friends at her high school and has gotten to be a teen.,


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Posted: 8/3/2012 11:41:59 AM

Yes, but she hasn't had to give up her life to persue swimming. She has friends at her high school and has gotten to be a teen.,


I <3 this! She has been able to maintain some semblance of a normal teen life. As the parent of a kid who has chosen not to go that route, I think it is fantastic that this swimmer has been able to be phenomenally successful and still attend school. It is definitely a more difficult track to maintain full time student status in a traditional school setting and be an elite athlete, IMHO. It is much easier to do it the way we do, with homeschooling. (oh.. and my child is not an Olympic level athlete, just a dedicated ballerina)



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Posted: 8/3/2012 1:23:03 PM

NBC is not a cable station, unless something has changed in recent years that I don't know about.


Shut up.


BTW, NBC may be a broadcast station but the vast majority of their coverage this year is on their cable stations and only those with cable and satalite subscriptions are allowed access to that content on their website. For those of us who don't have a tv subscription we get a very limited range of the sports broadcast. No fencing. No equestrian events. No Judo (not even with the gold medalist!) a minuscule amount of cycling. It's all swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball.


What she ^ said. Thanks.

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Posted: 8/3/2012 1:52:30 PM

The Olympics have always been a rich man's sport, especially when they were amateur only. Very few people have the money to support a child through that dream.

I don't see it that way. I am sure it varies from sport to sport (with gymnastics being one of the more expensive sports, not to mention the equestrian events!), but there are a lot of sports where money doesn't really factor in. Location can be more of a factor; it is hard to become an elite beach volleyball player when you live in Colorado, but even that happens with talent. I would venture to guess that the majority of the U.S.'s Olympic athletes do not come from a lot of money. Look at the U.S. track and field team, for example. It is not like the families have a lot of financial "investment" there. A lot of our athletes still come out of the schools--both at the secondary and collegiate level--and there aren't a significant number of people being prevented from participating because of financial restrictions (fee waivers for kids on free and reduced lunch in high school and needs-based or athletic scholarships at the collegiate level). Not many soccer or basketball players come from money (and not many water polo players come from Wyoming, but that is a location thing).

Granted, the winter Olympics are different. Youth hockey, skiing, and ice skating just are not that available to a large percentage of the population.

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Posted: 8/3/2012 2:31:52 PM

Shut up.




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Posted: 8/3/2012 2:34:27 PM
You also have to consider what kinds of training and facilities are available to the athlete starting out! Not many people who live in the South West end up becoming rowing Olympians - in fact, I'm guessing that MOST of those rowing athletes attended Ivy League Universities - because I know of very FEW local high schools or colleges with rowing sports - of fencing - or water polos - or........

Obviously it's not an "everyone has a chance to make their dreams come true..." kind of thing - no matter HOW great of an athlete you are.

OH and Apollo Ono may have lived in the Olympic Training Center in CO for 8 yrs - but before that his single father worked 3 jobs to pay for his training and coaches so he could get good enough to compete at a world level.

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Posted: 8/3/2012 4:42:24 PM

You also have to consider what kinds of training and facilities are available to the athlete starting out! Not many people who live in the South West end up becoming rowing Olympians - in fact, I'm guessing that MOST of those rowing athletes attended Ivy League Universities - because I know of very FEW local high schools or colleges with rowing sports - of fencing - or water polos - or........

Obviously it's not an "everyone has a chance to make their dreams come true..." kind of thing - no matter HOW great of an athlete you are.

This is true, too. Kids with community pools are more likely to be on community swim teams (and white kids with community pools are much more likely to be on community swim teams than black kids who have community pools, but that is a different story).

The Olympic rower we know grew up in Colorado, but she didn't start rowing until she went to an Ivy. (She is also one of the few Olympic athletes that I know on a more personal level who has family money--her grandfather used to coach the Denver Broncos).

There is still an element of dreaming when it comes to the Olympics, and there is still (in a lot of sports) an element of financial support to help make that come true.

phdscrap
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Posted: 8/3/2012 5:27:36 PM
A friend of mine has a dd (who is shooting for the next Olympics) who rides. They pay for everything! They pay to transport their horse (which is a six figure horse) to wherever she competes (or trains - she was asked to go to workshops over the years in Germany and last year in Spain).

What surprises me is that they also pay for her trainer (travel and hotels to competitions but also to go to prestigious workshops with dd). It is crazy expensive. While it has caused lots of disagreements with her ex over the years, it does look like she will likely be in the olympics in Russia!

She has just become high profile enough that she has just got some (really small) endorsements. But when her parents bought her current horse, they told her that was her college fund.


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melissa
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Posted: 8/3/2012 9:34:08 PM
Also, a "host" family does not necessarily host someone for free.

We have host families for dancers that do not live close enough to commute. They are paid a monthly rate which is meant to cover room, some board and transportation to and from the studios. There is also a list of what the monthly fee does not include.



sunny 5
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Posted: 8/3/2012 9:57:09 PM
my best friend's sister was on the rowing team that should have gone to moscow for the olympics in 1980. they grew up very very middle class. she started rowing in college...and I'm sure never paid much for equipment or special coaching. after not being able to go to the games, she became a coach for rowing at one of the top schools. on the west coast. she retired at 50.

there are rowing programs in SF bay area and in seattle area for high schools. my nephew was on one. another girl I know got a full ride scholarship for crew in university..she was part of the club...but again, her parents live a very modest, middle class life.

picabo street, skier, came from a poor family. she was supported by the local ski clubs.
so it depends on the sport.
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