I am not big on personal causes. There are so many out there and so many avenues it's really difficult to decide who and what to support. However, since this is part of what I do for a living, and I am a taxpayer, I have found something interesting enough to share it with you.
In the world of Olympic Sports, many countries treat their athletes as the Greeks treated their Gods; with reverence and appreciation. In the United States, the case can be argued that the amount of support is akin to the amount of popularity the athlete or team has within the media. More so how marketable that person or team is. With team sports like Basketball, Soccer, Hockey and Baseball, it is a foregone conclusion that sponsors align themselves with the biggest names and brightest stars to bring their brand or product to the forefront. The same can be said with big names like Michael Phelps who I am sure Subway is paying big big fat American dollars to be their poster boy.
The question though comes to lesser known sports. Lesser known athletes. Athletes with marginal or reduced potentiality for mass media exposure, even if they dominate their sport, simply because they don't fit the physical mold of "athlete" defined by society. So when the U.S. began fielding Women's Weightlifting athletes to represent their country in London next week, how well do you think they are being compensated? How are these ladies who have gone through the same Olympic qualifying process as everyone else and believe it or not, stand a chance at placing 1st and 2nd in London, how do they get by every week? The U.S. Government is paying them $400 per week to train to compete against the best of the best from around the world.
Could you survive on $400 per week even if you had nothing else going on in your life? Forget about a mortgage. Rent, Food, Utilities, Necessities, Transportation, Entertainment? Could you? Now imagine adding the cost of Training, Transportation, Equipment, Supplementation, Coaches? Could you make it happen?
Here is a story about one of those girls. Sarah Robles has a dream, just like everyone else who has ever tried to compete at any level in athletic competition. Sarah leads the world currently in one of the two Olympics lifts that will be tested in London. Between her and Holley Mangold, the U.S. could see medals in Olympic lifting for the first time in a long long time and the first ever for women. The stark differences between Sarah and Holley are simple: Holley has financial backing from family, where Sarah simply doesn't. Nike will emblazon their logo on every bit of apparel that Sarah and Holley will wear. Nike's exposure (which they paid a hefty price for) will be unmatched by anyone in the world this Olympics. All we ask is that some of that support trickles down to the non-molded athletes. The same teammates that Michael Phelps has.