Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Even with Rio Olympic berths, these Washington athletes need help paying for training & related expenses...

Way back in December, we ran a post on decathlete Jeremy Taiwo (above/photo by Paul Merca) and his plight to raise money by setting up a GoFundMe account to help him train for a spot on the US Olympic team, especially since he didn’t have a contract with a shoe company.

Fast forward to July, and the Newport HS & University of Washington graduate is now on the US Olympic team after finishing second at the Olympic Trials, and has a small sponsorship deal with Seattle-based Brooks, who currently does not make specialty field event shoes.

Wednesday, GoFundMe announced that Taiwo won a $10000 grant from the web site to help pay for his training, travel and medical costs for being the Olympian that’s raised the most money—to be exact, $33,000 from nearly 300 individual donors (at the time of this post, the total has gone up to over $50000, including the $10000 grant).

In a press release, Taiwo said, “I am so grateful, and amazed, that GoFundMe is awarding me this, after being the platform and reason I could achieve my goal in the first place.” 

“It takes a village to raise a decathlete, and I am so proud to be a part of this community, and for the continued support from my home state of Washington, for making this all possible.”

“I’m thrilled that a dedicated, world-class athlete like Jeremy Taiwo has won this GoFundMe competition,” said Rob Solomon, GoFundMe’s CEO. “To attain his level of athletic achievement in the face of financial challenges takes tremendous sacrifice, hard work, and community support. Campaigns like Jeremy’s show what GoFundMe is all about: empowering people to help people achieve their dreams.”

Courtesy of GoFundMe, here’s a video from Taiwo:

At least two other track & field Olympians with ties to this state are using crowd funding to help raise money to send their personal coaches and support staff to Rio.

University Place resident Andrea Geubelle, who was third in the triple jump at the Olympic Trials, is using AthleteBiz with a goal of $15000 to help send her coach Nate Wilford to Rio as well as to pay training, medical and associated expenses.  

With help from family and friends, they’ve sold t-shirts (left/photo courtesy Andrea Geubelle) with the triple jumper’s name on the front, and a drawing of her on the back with the hashtag #GeubelleforGold.

Finally, Seattle’s Justine Fedronic, who will run the 800 meters for France at the Olympics, started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay travel expenses for her personal coach and physical therapist while in Rio.

While Stanford grad Fedronic (left/photo by Paul Merca) has a contract with Nike, she missed ten months of training and racing, due to a torn hamstring and adductor in September 2014, and did not compete during the 2015 season.  The nature of her Nike contract resulted in her not receiving any money from the company for last season, and left her on the hook for medical bills and other costs of training at an elite level.

Readers interested in contributing to these athletes may do so by clicking the link attached to their names.

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