Sean's Trek to Tokyo 2020

Hi everyone!

As most of you know, I’ve been living and training as a full-time athlete at the Olympic Training Center for the past year and a half now in pursuit of becoming the first American male hammer thrower to win a medal at the Olympics in over 20 years!  

This first year at the OTC has been incredible; I set a new life-time best and U.S. lead of 76.96m/252’6”, took 3rd place at both the U.S. Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and made my first international team, representing both North and South America at the IAAF Continental cup. Alongside that, I finished the year ranked #15 in the world, as a result of amassing 8 of the 10 best throws of my life while competing over in Europe; arguably my proudest accomplishment of this past year, for dealing the woes of international travel is what separates the good from the great.

This brings me to year two as an OTC resident; the environment and people continue to be second to none, especially with the addition of some new training partners! This residency has been life-changing for me and my athletic career, offering perks such as top-notch facilities, beautiful weather year round, and an awesome support staff of coaches and athletic trainers.

While I am incredibly grateful to have earned this opportunity, the costs associated with being a ‘professional’ in the realm of track and field far outweigh the rewards (especially when you’re a hammer thrower). While the USOC and USATF offer some help, for lesser-known athletes like me, income to cover the rest of our living and training expenses is sparse. It’s assumed that athletes who earn a spot to train here earn the majority of their income through major shoe/apparel sponsorships and prize money earnings, both of which are almost non-existent in the world of hammer throw. On top of that, those athletes who earn those major sponsorships right out of college are most often those athletes who were also on full-ride or near full-ride scholarships, leaving them essentially debt free upon arriving to the OTC.

If you know me, you know I fit none of those criteria. While I was fortunate enough to earn a small scholarship to compete at the University of Minnesota for my final collegiate season, the vast majority of my collegiate career was spent at a small DIII private institution, the University of Mount Union, racking up over six figures of student loan debt.

I have managed to ‘get-by’ these past couple years of professional throwing with a lot of hard work and a bit of dumb luck. With little time outside of training to hold down a legitimate job, I’ve pieced together what small income I have made from coaching, meager prize earnings, and small sponsorship bonuses to make my monthly loan payments, leaving little left over for the necessary expenses of my throwing career, namely travel, equipment, and medical expenses.

That’s why I’ve started this GoFundMe, to help me stay afloat financially while offering an outlet for anyone interested in helping me achieve my dream of not just making an Olympic team but winning a medal for our great country. The 2020 Olympics aren’t for another year and a half, but each and every second along the way is vital, and with your help, I’ll be able to maximize that time. As stated, every dollar of this fundraiser will go directly towards covering expenses for travel, training equipment, and medical over the next 18 months. Any support that you may be able to offer me will absolutely mean the world to me, even if it is just a share on social media! Thank you to everyone that has donated for helping me make this dream a reality, words can't describe how grateful I am!

Thank you for your time!
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Sean Donnelly 
Chula Vista, CA