The families of gold medal winners Ryan Lochte and Gabby Douglas have suffered financially in order to support their athletes. The coaching, the uniforms, and traveling expenses are costly and have taken a toll the Olympic families. Stephanie Elam reports from NBC4 Olympic Village in Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on August 6, 2012.
To get to the Olympic Games, athletes have to pay a huge price in sweat equity. But for their families, the monetary investment can be even more staggering.
Years of paying coaches, buying uniforms and the cost of constant travel adds up and can financially ruin a family.
“Every time you see an athlete out there competing, there's always someone, or some group of people that are behind them that allows them the opportunity to do this,” said Mick Haley, who coached the USA women's volleyball team in the 2000 Olympics.
During the London Games it has been revealed that Natalie Hawkins, the mother of gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
“I didn't realize when I got into this sport how expensive it was,” Hawkins told Headline News. “Just the commitment over the years, sometimes it felt crushing. I didn't think I'd be able to keep her in the sport.”
Team USA swimmer and gold medalist Ryan Lochte’s parents are facing foreclosure on their Florida home. Lochte’s mother told USA Today that none of her children knew about the issue until it was reported by the media.
Douglas’ and Lochte’s success in London may attract sponsorships that could provide them and their families’ financial freedom. But for every Olympian that wins gold, there are countless others that walk away with no return on a huge investment.