GoFundMe Athletes Win Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals in Rio
GoFundMe Campaigns Allow Athletes to Share Special Medal-Winning Moments With Their Families
Just a few days into the summer games, and thanks to GoFundMe campaigns, four athletes were able to have their families in the stands cheering them on as they won medals in Rio: Caeleb Dressel, USA, Gold in the 4x100 freestyle relay; Chase Kalisz, USA, Silver in the 400 IM; David Plummer, USA, Bronze in the 100m Backstroke; Michelle Williams, Canada, Bronze in the 4x100m relay.
No athlete embarks on their journey alone. A stable of coaches, trainers, and most importantly, families are by their side the whole way, making up a critical support system that enables athletes to compete and strive for gold. But behind all the fanfare and excitement that surround the games, many athletes and their families are faced with a struggle: the costs of getting to Rio. Between flights, hotel accommodations, and expenses for the games, supportive parents may miss the priceless opportunity to see their child compete. For the families who have been with these athletes every step of the way, the possibility of not attending is a devastating blow.
“As we got closer to the 2016 games in Rio, we noticed that athletes were actively raising money on GoFundMe, not only for equipment, training, coaching and qualifying meets, but also to have their loved ones by their side,” said GoFundMe CEO, Rob Solomon. “In order to inspire and empower the community to rally around these athletes, we created a dedicated hub to help facilitate fundraising for the athletes’ campaigns. We’ve seen more than 8,100 donors from around the world come together to show support for over 140 different campaigns, raising more than $780,000.”
When U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel took home his first gold medal in the Men’s 4X100 freestyle relay this week, his parents and siblings were cheering him on in the stands thanks to a GoFundMe campaign secretly created by Caeleb’s siblings to get his parents to the games. The page, which raised $11,500, allowed all five family members to join Caeleb in Rio this week.
When Chase Kalisz qualified to represent the USA in the 400 IM, a family friend learned that Chase’s mother was planning on watching him swim from home. Thanks to the donations of 151 people in just 24 days, the GoFundMe campaign surpassed its $10,000 goal. Chase’s mother was able to travel to Rio to support her son — and watch him earn a Silver medal.
Or take swimmer David Plummer, who won the Bronze in the 100m backstroke. A group of high school friends raised nearly $10,000 — so that David’s mother Kathy could be there in Rio.
When Michelle Williams qualified in April to swim for Canada in the games, her parents William and Emsie could not afford to go. The whole family was devastated. Her parents sacrificed a great deal to immigrate to Canada, where they worked multiple jobs with long hours to give their children a good life and pay for Michelle’s training fees. They spent the limited time they had driving to early morning practices and cheering Michelle on at swim meets. Thanks to the GoFundMe campaign, Michelle’s parents were in the stands when she won the Bronze for the 4x100m relay.
“Week one in Rio was an amazing one for GoFundMe athletes and their families. Congratulations to all the athletes who have already competed and medaled!” said GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon.“We’re continuing to cheer on the athletes and love seeing the joyful, proud, and emotional reactions of the families as they watch their beloved sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers strive for greatness.”