Where have we heard the story…decorated female athlete, African-American, looks for a second athletic life as an Olympian in the bobsled. Lolo Jones, maybe, move over, here is Phaidra Knight. Knight’s success hasn’t come in the brightest of lights with the biggest of brands like Jones had. She is also not a lightning rod for controversy.
What she is is a law school educated, multitalented almost 40 something woman who is among the most decorated WOMEN’s rugby players of all time. Now she is trying to get one more spark as an athlete as she tries to make the US Women’s bobsled team for Sochi. Timing is what Knight probably needs most to make the team…impeccable timing, and it is something which may not be on her side. Now if this was 2016, Knight would have a great stage to tell her story, as rugby 7’s will be on the Olympic programme for the first time, and she could have used all the platform, similar to what Jones has done with track and field, to catapult her way to a second Olympic career.
Something else Knight doesn’t have right now is funding, especially with such a short window to make the team. So what does she do? She turns to the great sentiments of the people, launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money she needs, in whatever increments the great unwashed would like to donate. If sourcing works for some start-ups, why not for a start-up athlete to give it a try. Her budget is estimated to be about $50,000 per year for the Kickstarter-like campaign, and if successful, anyone who participates can get a small piece of the Olympic dream for their own. There are probably more than a few hungry brands who might also join in to supplement (no pun intended) her run, grabbing some ancillary exposure along the way.
Of course the raising finds for Olympians isn’t that new. The USOC, unlike most other nations, is privately funded, and many smaller athletes take to the grassroots to supplement their training. However this one is a little more noteworthy because of the means and the method, not to mention the sport, one which already has a prominent female athlete looking to make the transition for more Olympic glory.
If Phaidra misses the winter cut, maybe Rio as a new goal isn’t that far away. Lolo may have company.