Olympic Gold is now a bit closer for Opelika athlete, Aretha Thurmond, thanks to the $50,000 Travel & Training Fund from the Women's Sports Foundation. A total of twelve individuals and two teams, representing twelve sports received grants. In partnership with Gatorade®, the recipients each received financial support ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to help cover coaching, specialized training, equipment, attire, or travel expenses. Many of the athletes have aspirations to compete at upcoming world competitions, Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Three-time U.S. Olympian and Opelika resident, Aretha Thurmond is a fierce competitor in track & field and has consistently ranked among the top ten discus throwers in the world. She has faced and overcome many obstacles throughout the years, steadily adding to her long list of achievements. Extraordinarily, she placed fifth at the 2007 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, a mere two weeks after giving birth to her son, Devon Theopplis Thurmond. She also represented the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2009 World Championships. Thurmond has demonstrated that nothing will stand in the way of her athletic dreams. As a three-time Olympian, Thurmond has her sights set on a fourth appearance during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Being the best athlete doesn't come cheap. Aside from countless hours of sweat and sacrifice, the financial burdens of travel for competitions and the training required to compete can keep some of the most promising athletes out of the game. The Women's Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, recognized these burdens, and created the Travel & Training Fund to help lower those hurdles for our most promising female athletes. The fund has supported athletes like figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan, Jessica Mendoza (Softball Olympic Gold Medalist) and beyond as they pursued their quest for Olympic Gold.