The hard truth of training to be an Olympian doesn't just involve the sacrifice of time, blood, sweat and tears. Most Olympic hopefuls also sacrifice financially. Outside of the marquee athletes in top sports, many struggle to pay the bills.
USA Today profiled speedskater Emily Scott, who took second at the short track national championships in December. Scott's stipend from the U.S. Speedskating Association was cut from $1,950 to $600 this month, and she has applied for food stamps as well as picked up a part time job at a factory.
"The last thing you want to be worried about in a year like this is being able to pay your rent and eat, and you want to eat healthy," she said at lunch as she twirled a spoon in a bowl of soup. "That was pretty hard. ... But I'm not the only one suffering."
Unlike every other Olympic committee on the planet, the United State government does not give any financial support to its athletes. American Olympians get their support from corporate sponsors and private donations.
But there is good news. Since USA Today's story ran this morning, Scott has raised more than $17,000 on her Go Fund Me page. She said thank you was not enough:
I know that Thank You is not enough but sincerely, Thank You to everyone that has donated and everyone for just believing in me. I promise that I will give 110% every single day. Every single one of you are truly a blessing to me, Thank You.
If you want to help Scott continue the United States' successful streak in speedskating, you can donate here.