Editor's Note: FasterSkier is happy to support America For Gold (AFG), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance directly to Summer and Winter Olympic athletes through need-based grants. States the AFG website: “The organization is devoted solely to raising funds and awareness for America’s able-bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities training for both Summer and Winter Games. It is the organization’s mission to underwrite the expenses of as many American athletes as possible, since support is needed years before medals are won. With consistent financial support, these athletes can continue inspiring future generations of proud Americans.”
AFG allows donors to pick a specific sport to support, so you can be sure your dollars go directly to athletes that are most important to you personally. When someone donates $8 a month or more for one year, they get a free t-shirt (see photo below). The following press release provides additional information on the organization. Visit the AFG website to donate and, if you are an athlete, to learn about applying for AFG funding. http://www.americaforgold.org/
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For gold-medal hopefuls like the 2008 U.S. Weightlifting Team’s Carissa Gump, who competed in Beijing this summer, the road to international athletic competition is paved with financial obstacles. While costs are hard to compete with, non-profit organization America for Gold (AFG) wants to take the weight off athletes’ shoulders through need-based grants.
Depending on the sport, a Summer or Winter Games athlete’s costs can range from $12,000 to $120,000 annually for equipment, travel, coaching, nutrition, event fees and transportation. Training at such a level makes it hard for athletes to even hold a part-time job, but Carissa Gump, who began weightlifting at age 12, manages this delicate balance. A student studying business administration at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, she works two jobs and dedicates nearly every spare moment to training.
â€œYou must have excellent time management,â€ said Gump, an AFG supporter and spokesperson. â€œEducation is very important to me, so I find a way to fit it in with training and working. It has taken me three and a half years to get a two-year degree, because I have so many other responsibilities, but it’s all worth it.â€
Founder and Executive Director of America for Gold, Kevin Montford was a member of the U.S. Modern Pentathlon National Team, and he witnessed many athletes encounter financial roadblocks after years of training. Now that his athletic career has come full-circle, he has turned his passion for sports into supporting America’s athletes and helping these role models fulfill their dreams.
â€œIf I want Americans to be aware of anything, it’s that these athletes have trained their entire lives, and most don’t have the means necessary to make it to the Games they’ve been training so hard for,â€ said Montford. â€œThese athletes don’t stop training once the Games are complete; they are training 365 days a year.â€
With summer drawn to a close, Gump now enjoys making appearances and sharing stories and experiences from Beijing, but she is already preparing for the 2012 London Games. Along with Montford, she takes every opportunity to share AFG’s mission with other athletes and potential supporters, adding that success is not achieved alone. She says she is fortunate to have had the support of her husband, family, training group and sponsors, adding that, â€œthe financial support from America for Gold can help take worries out of the long journey to the Games.â€
To support AFG, one-time or monthly contributions are accepted. Donations can be made online, by phone at (877) 477-4488 or by U.S. mail. To learn more about America for Gold or the many ways to help, please visit AmericaForGold.org .