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Going for the Gold in Rio Is Both Physically and Financially Challenge

For athletes training for this year's Summer Olympics in Rio, a grueling training schedule is a given. But for some, the financial sacrifices needed to become an Olympic athlete can be just as arduous. 'The financial obligations to the athletes are really challenging. They have the same cost of living as any 20 to 30 year old,' said Glenn Merry, CEO of the USRowing, the nonprofit organization that works to train Olympic rowers. 'You have to pay for an apartment or find some place to live free. You have to be able to pay for enough groceries to consume 5,000 to 7,000 calories a day, which is three times what normal person is eating.' The men's and women's Olympic rowing teams train in Princeton, New Jersey, where cost of living is high for the athletes. ''Their stipends are really very meager. They can't cover the costs of living in Princeton,' said Merry. Stipends paid to the athletes range from 600 to 17 hundred dollars a month. In Princeton, the median monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment is just over 18-hundred dollars, according to Trulia.com. USRowing works with the local community to try to find the athletes free housing and flexible jobs to cover their expenses. 'We don't make a lot of money. You don't hear many of us complain,' said Henrik Rummel, a member of the men's Olympic team. 'It's definitely something we accept going into it. It's very difficult to try make an actual living on your own.' Rummel, who was a medalist in the last Olympics, is eager to go for the gold this year in Rio. 

Olympics Rowing Slideshow

July 4, 2012