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01/16/2014

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Melody Jones

David Wharton’s article about U.S. Olympian hopefuls, tells of the financial hardships athletes experience in their journey to Sochi 2014. Though Wharton does not explicitly state his opinion, reading between the lines suggests that the author is in favor of government sponsorship. Early in the story, Wharton points to the fact that “unlike athletes in most other countries, U.S. Olympians receive no direct government funding.” In placing this bit of information in the beginning of the article, the author hints at a larger context and explanation for the struggles a U.S. athlete may face when attempting to prepare and travel to the Olympic Games. Below the title of the article, Wharton states “training, equipment and travel costs can create debt for U.S. athletes, who get no direct government funding. Some are seeking donations from public.” Highlighting the individual efforts of athletes to support themselves through fundraising and self-promotion is cleverly paralleled by the fact that the government does not aid their own athletes. The debt Wharton mentions is a negative side to the Olympic glory, and points to the government as being partially responsible. In reporting the ways in which these athletes are reaching their goals, the author plays on the readers’ sympathy to promote the cause.

Wharton highlights Jazmine Fenlator, an American bobsled athlete, who is in debt due to the costs associated with her Olympic dream. One of the first things the author describes to the reader is the cost of the steel runners on Fenlator’s sled. Approximating some of the costs of her equipment, travel expenses, and training offers the audience insight to the athlete's circumstances they may have been unaware of. The author goes on to quote Fenlator as saying “I'm in debt… people don't realize." This information may be surprising to readers that assumed Olympic athletes were wealthy and well sponsored. His tactic is smart and may inspire someone to go on Rallyme.com to support their favorite sportsperson. Furthermore, Wharton makes the reader think about what role the United States’ government should play in preparing American athletes for, and sending them to the Olympic Games.

Seeing that the U.S. receives accolades, a huge boost in patriotism, and international media attention as a result of the success of Olympic champions, it is only right for the government to foot some of the bill. As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, it reflects negatively on the U.S. to not support its athletes, who represent the country in the best possible light. Olympians like Gabby Douglas, for example, can do more for international support than a U.S. ambassador. The American public may very well be in favor of a portion of tax dollars being used to compensate travel expenses and equipment for athletes participating in each Olympic event. It may just take promoting the right petition or getting the proper lobbyists to appeal to the federal government for these highly popular events that only occur every four years, but it is an absolutely achievable goal.

Source:
Wharton, David. "U.S. Olympic Hopefuls Turn to Crowd-funding to Pay Way to Sochi."
Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Hannah Butler

David Wharton describes the struggles athletes face to raise money in order to participate in the Olympics. I agree with the statement that Wharton seems to feel that the United States government should support these athletes financially because of the specific information included in his article. He strategically mentions the high costs to participate, travel, and train on top of the task of having a job and paying normal bills. He also mentions that big sponsorships aren’t easy to come by along with mentioning a new way the Olympic athletes have been attempting to make money. All of these statements point to the assumption that Wharton feels that the United States should make this experience a little less daunting for the participants. I would also have to agree with this thought because my experience as a spectator confirms that these athletes do a terrific job of representing our country. America should respect the work that they do for us and reward them for their time, effort, and participation. I also agree that getting more support with lobbyists or petitions would make a difference, a point that needs emphasizing since so many people assume that Olympic athletes are rich. Overall, I feel that Wharton believes the United States should support Olympic athletes financially and I would have to agree with him.

Will Hopkins

Hannah Butler makes a great point when she writes that the people of America should support Olympic athletes for all of the work that they do. While this idea is good in theory, I also believe that it is highly unlikely that lower and middle class Americans will ever heavily contribute to the cause. Many Americans struggle to take care of their own needs, much less the needs of an Olympic athlete they have ever heard of. I agree with Hannah when she writes that there needs to be an increase in awareness of how poor these Olympic athletes really are. Perhaps an increase in awareness will push larger companies and more upper class citizens to sponsor athletes. In my opinion, the United States government should use tax revenue to at least pay the athletes minimum wage for their hard work. Billions of tax dollars are spent on far less valuable things. I am sure that the American people would rather pay for an Olympic athlete's hard work than for a senate member to fly first class instead of third.

Alex Capalbo

I think its unfair that some olympic athletes get endorsed by companies and so some don't. Olympic athletes get asked to compete, therefore they should be getting transported to attend that tournament for free be supplied with free clothing and equipment. Hannah Butler makes great points in her article about how most olympians have every day struggles with money and how the people that financially support these athletes really do help them. These issues will never get fixed until america as a whole becomes more financially stable.

Ashley Hemstreet

While it is wonderful that these athletes are finally getting a chance to easily raise money, I do not think it is fair that only the more popular ones get endorsements. There is no question that all Olympic athletes are hard workers. Therefore, they should all be treated the same. Someone with that amount of talent should not be kept from following their dreams, and doing something as remarkable as competing in the Olympics, just because they are not able to afford it.

Ethan DeWaal

In David Wharton’s article, “U.S. Olympic hopefuls turn to crowd-funding to pay way to Sochi”, he outlines how many American Olympic athletes are struggling to pay their bills due to the fact the U.S. doesn’t subsidize its Olympic athletes. Wharton goes in depth of one American bobsled pilot, Jazmine Fenlator, and how she raised almost $60,000 on a crowdsourcing website. Wharton then discusses how other struggling athletes raised money and then brings up other cases where struggling athletes used crowdsourcing to get to the Sochi Olympic Games.

In my opinion, the U.S. needs to pay its Olympic athletes like many other countries do. By paying our Olympic athletes, it would allow those athletes to focus on competing and representing our country to the best of their ability. Instead, the athletes have to worry about having enough money to even get to the games. With this system, many top athletes in less popular sports may not be able compete in the Olympic games making the U.S.’s team weaker than it could be. The simple solution is for the government to subsidize these athletes.

mortgage

I thought these conditions prevail only in India, but it seems the same for all the athletes from all countries. I wish governments take care of these people who do so much for the pride of their countries just like other players in games like cricket and baseball

Emilee LeMaire

In David Wharton’s article, “U.S. Olympic Hopefuls Turn to Crowd-Funding to Pay Way to Sochi,” he explains that many American Olympic athletes struggle to pay their bills due to the fact that the U.S. doesn’t subsidize its athletes. In my opinion the U.S. should pay their athletes like many other countries do. This would allow athletes to focus on training and representing our country in the Olympic Games, instead of having to worry about having enough money to even get to the games. With the system that we have now, many top athletes in less popular sports, may not be able to compete in the games, making the U.S. Olympic team weaker. Even though in Wharton’s article there are examples of athletes that use websites for crowd-funding, it does not always work for all athletes. It all depends on the resources you have to spread you crowd-funding campaign. The simple solution is for the government to subside these athletes.

All of Wharton’s statements point to the assumption that he feels that the United States should make the experience of going to the Olympics a little less intimidating for the athletes. I agree with this thought because my experience as a spectator confirms that these athletes do an exceptional job of representing our country. America should respect the work that these athletes do for us and reward them for their time, effort, and participation. I also agree that getting more support with petitions could make a difference, due to the fact that many people think all Olympic athletes are rich. Overall, I feel that Wharton believes the United States should support Olympic athletes financially and I agree with him.

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