Olympic delay lengthens financial strain on athletes

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Olympic athletes dream of winning gold, but a pot of gold doesn’t appear until that medal is draped around their neck.

The postponement of the Tokyo Games is putting a strain on Olympic hopefuls like Joe Hicks, a boxer and Godwin Heights graduate.

When he’s not training, Hicks makes a modest living working at a call center.

“They still have me going to camp and things like that. So it’s kind of hard for any of us to work,” he said. “I’m not bringing in what I was bringing in before, so it’s kind of different.”

He was planning on turn pro after the Olympics, so when the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced its COVID Athlete Assistance Fund, he was all for it.

“A lot of us would have been pro after the Olympics, so we would have been making good money. We need those funds because it’s kind of hard on athletes,” Hicks said.

Even before the pandemic hit, Hicks needed help. He raised nearly $3,000 through GoFundMe before the Olympic trials.

“I had it set up to go to the trials and it was successful. It got me to the trials. I’m where I’m at today,” he said.

He plans on starting another GoFundMe soon.

In the meantime, he will continue to train. While he has secured a place on Team USA, he still has to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

“One of the biggest keys is my daughter. I promised her about going to Tokyo. That plays a major role in it,” he said. “Other than that, the Olympics has been my dream. It’s always my dream. It’s something I wanted to do. … Why go pro and say I wish I could have done this?”

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