To the television viewer, Olympic athletes seem to be on top of the world. They are young, strong and highly skilled in their sports, with bright futures beckoning.
But most athletes come from ordinary families with ordinary financial struggles.
For example, the mother of a gold medal-winning gymnast filed for bankruptcy to help keep her house. Foreclosure, it’s safe to say, can happen as easily to the families of Olympians as to other American families.
Another example was the family of a star swimmer whose parents are being sued by the bank that holds their mortgage loan, which is in arrears. Again, Olympic glory offers no obvious immunity against financial struggles.
In fact, the financial sacrifices needed to allow elite athletes to devote themselves to training can contribute to problems with getting the bills paid.
The Great Recession and its uncertain aftermath have compounded these problems. Nationally, from 2007 to 2010, median household net worth fell by 40 percent in just three years.
But it isn’t just that the value of retirement accounts, houses and other assets have fallen. Job loss and high unemployment have also been a persistent issue in the San Antonio area and throughout most of the country the country.
Overall, millions of jobs have been lost since the Recession started in 2007. Three years after it officially ended, unemployment remains high – and that means many families are in need of debt relief options, such as bankruptcy.
Some of those families, we now know, are the families of Olympians.
Source: “Olympic Bankruptcies for Ordinary Families,” New York Times, Helaine Olen, 8-8-12
Our firm handles situations such as those described in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our consumer bankruptcy page.