What it Costs an Athlete to Compete
It can vary, but a decade of training and equipment bills can cost six figures. A former speedskater and two-time medalist put his cost at $250,000 over ten years. There is no direct government aid, but the U.S. Olympic Committee does offer stipends and other support.Source >>
Live Frugal, Take Day Jobs, Get Sponsors
The high profile athletes in the high profile events obviously have the best chances to get sponsors. Those who don't get sponsors may work and save to fill in what the stipends and support doesn't. And even with sponsors it still may mean working and saving. Winter events also throw an extra challenge in. There are only so many places a person can find moguls, ski jumps, half-pipes, and bobsled tracks. They've got to get to them creating a skyrocketing travel budget.
Without sponsors, the Jamaican Bobsled Team turned to asking for donations on-line on Crowdtilt. They targeted $80,000 to help get them to the Games. The raised $129,687 by January 21st. They have since turned off the donation link.
Jamaican Bobsled Team Relies on Crowd Funding
See their Crowdtilt page >>
Crowd Funding Goes Deeper into The Games
Than Just Jamaica
Dozens of U.S. Athletes got help from crowd funding according to CNBC. They say the U.S. Olympic Committee does fund individual sports federations, but the funds don't always cover the needs. Crowd fund donors stepped in and now have a little piece of an athlete's success.
See the CNBC article on Athlete Funding >>
PHOTO CREDIT: By Matt from ATL, USA (Moguls Medalists Uploaded by Tabercil) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons