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The cost of raising a professional gymnast

A very talented 13-year-old gymnast Kaliya Lincoln could be, by the opinion of some, the next Simone Biles. But for that, she’ll need some financial support, since her family simply can’t afford the astronomic costs the sport brings. Back in 2016, her parents created a GoFundMe page to help make her dreams come true.

At that time Kaliya has been invited to the exclusive USA Gymnastics Team Training Camp at Karolyi Ranch, that has trained Olympians Gabby Douglas and Biles. And as her idols, she wants to be next. “I want to be an Olympian and win an Olympic gold medal,” she said. “I just want to compete for my country and feel that experience and feel how amazing it is.”

Kaliya was invited to the camp before, but couldn’t attend it due to financial constraints. The camp season included nine week-long sessions from fall 2016 to next fall. Her parents, therefore, hoped to raise $20,000 to cover the cost of each trip.

Her parents say gymnastics has made Kaliya blossom from a small and shy kid to a confident athlete. “She was a really tiny kid obviously, really quiet, kind of introverted, shy and just kind of trying to find herself. And once she started doing gymnastics and she found out she was good at it, she said ‘Ok, this is why I’m so small. This is what I’m supposed to do,” her father explained.

Kaliya, that is a fourth child, took to gymnastics recreationally when she was 5 years old. She makes a 120-mile round trip from Tracy to Santa Clara five times a week to practice at Airborne Gymnastics and trains 30 hours per week under coach Cale Robinson. She is home-schooled so she can balance the practices.

Gymnastics is estimated to be one of the most expansive sports for kids. At the beginning costs start at around $15-$20 per class, but once the kid gets compatible it escalates over $300 per month. By progressing to higher levels, families can expect to pay $1,000 a month, and even more when reaching elite status. On usual the annual costs are of about $15,000.

Her coach says Kaliya is a very talented athlete, always pushing herself. “It’s very rare to get that combination of being really self-motivated as well as uber-talented all in one little package. She’s rare. You can definitely tell there is something special about her.”

Kaliya goals are to compete in the 2024 Olympic games. Her parents are very supportive of that but have an even bigger desire for her. “Of course every little girl has big dreams and wants to compete for their country,” said her mom. “But ultimately our goal is to make sure she secures a college scholarship and can compete on that realm as well.”

So what do you think? Could Kaliya or other gymnasts with similar stories be suitable to have a campaign on the SportyCo platform? 😉

Sources: NBC Bay Area, Forbes

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