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Mountain biker Lea Davison chronicles hidden financial hardships of Olympic athletes

Mountain biker Lea Davison chronicles hidden financial hardships of Olympic athletes

Mountain biker Lea Davison was heartbroken. She was supposed to have been competing in her third Olympics in Tokyo the past two weeks, but the…

Sunday, Aug 09

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Mountain biker Lea Davison was heartbroken.

She was supposed to have been competing in her third Olympics in Tokyo the past two weeks, but the Games were pushed back an entire year, rescheduled for 2021.

Instead of vying for a medal in women’s cross-country cycling after placing seventh at the 2016 Games and 11th at the London Games in 2012, the 37-year-old Davison has been reshaping her focus for another uncertain year of training — where her usual domestic competitions have also been put on hold and financial resources have been drained due to COVID-19.

"As athletes, this would have been our time to shine, the moments we’ve been working towards for a lifetime," Davison said. "To miss out on that, it throws you through a loop because it’s a hell of a lot of work to get to the Olympics. I kind of went through a grieving process but then tried to see an extra year to improve — and become as fast as possible — as a positive. Because the way I look at it is I’ve already done a lion’s share of the work so I’m not going to give up now."

As resilient and unwavering as Davison and other Olympians have been, the practical side of the detriments from the Tokyo Games’ postponement have come on a financial level where funding was hardly plentiful beforehand.

Davison relies on USA Cycling, a National Governing Body (NGB) that serves as a separate branch of Olympic sports, to stay supported financially. Outside of […]

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