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Cost of Olympic gold takes toll on some athletes’ families

The 2012 London Summer Olympiads and their families are not immune from the economic recession in this country. New Jersey news outlets are reporting that the parents of some of our new heroes are also facing foreclosures and bankruptcy. In fact, gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas is learning exactly how high the price of Olympic success can cost.

The price of training to become an Olympian may have played a role in Douglas’ mother declaring bankruptcy. Court records indicate that Douglas’ mother filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in their home state earlier this year. This will allow her to reorganize her finances and consolidate debt so she can continue to live and support her children while paying down her debt.

According to the filings, most of her assets are comprised of a townhouse and car, totaling $163,706. She also owes about $80,000. The majority of the debt comes from her mortgage. In addition to supporting her three other children, Douglas’ mother made the commitment to help pay for her daughter’s gymnastics training. It obviously paid off.

In 2009, the Olympian’s mother went about six months with almost no income when she was on long-term medical disability. Now, her monthly income mainly comes from Social Security disability and child support payments and totals about $2,500 per month.

Chapter 13 bankruptcies give people – even the parent of an Olympic champion – a chance to start over when faced with overwhelming debt. Chapter 13 entails a reorganization of finances and a plan to repay debt over many years.

This type of bankruptcy is a good option for people who want a repayment plan that fits their own economic situation. Chapter 13 may also stop foreclosure proceedings or prevent a short sale. By consolidating debt, debtors are given some piece of mind and the ability to take control of their finances moving forward.

Source:, “Mother of Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas talks about financial troubles,” Aug. 6, 2012

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