Without any competitions, Olympic athletes feel financial squeeze as they train for Tokyo Games


While the movement of the Games presents myriad challenges for athletes, including training for another year, it’s the lack of events now that is causing immediate financial strain.

In women’s rugby, tournaments scheduled in Hong Kong, Canada and Paris presented opportunities for bonuses for finishing in the top four.

“Depending on how well you do, each tournament you can win a couple thousand dollars,” U.S. co-captain Abby Gustaitis, 29, said. “It’s a significant amount of money for us. You can earn your whole monthly stipend in one tournament.”

Swimming offers similar opportunities with its TYR Pro Swim Series, which held two events this year before USA Swimming canceled stops in Mission Viejo, Calif., and Indianapolis because of the coronavirus.

Winners receive $1,500, second-place finishers $1,000 and third-place finishers $500, said Madisyn Cox, the 2017 world bronze medalist in the 200 individual medley.

“You can go out of there with nothing, or I think I’ve made up to $4,500,” said Cox, 24, who is planning to defer medical school because of the postponement.

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