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The endless driving. The crazy parents. The many uniforms. There’s a lot of work that goes with being the parent of an athlete—and if your child is shooting for Olympic gold, there’s a lot of expense, too. While summer sports as a whole are less expensive than sports like hockey or skiing, the costs add up over the many years of training that it takes to make a champion.
Forbes.com interviewed athletes to find out what the cost of participation is, and discovered archery is the most expensive. Take Ariel Gibilaro, a 17-year-old from North Branford, Connecticut, who is hoping to compete in 2016. Her sport requires "$2,000 worth of equipment, $40- to $100-an-hour coaching fees and travel to regional competitions at $3,000 or so a pop" according to Forbes. So Gibilaro's saving money wherever she can—she created a 70-foot shooting range on a neighbor’s farm, because even the $9 an hour range fee adds up to several thousand dollars in savings each year.
From weight-lifting shoes to gymnastics camp, here’s a look at what it would cost annually to raise a future Olympic athlete.
Annual Cost: $25,000-plus
Years Training To Reach Olympic Level: Four-plus
Equipment costs $2,000, and your $100-an-hour coach will meet you at a $9-an-hour range. It adds up over time, and that doesn’t even count travel to numerous competitions.
2. Table Tennis
Annual Cost: $20,000-plus
Years Training: Eight to 12
A top quality paddle costs $300, but it’s the $10,000-plus per year in travel to China to train competitively that really gets you.
Annual Cost: $20,000
Years Training: 10 to 15
Four to five trips per year are the biggest outlay for young fencers; Olympians get their equipment, travel, camps and competitions covered, but are unable to work due to their schedule.
Annual Cost: $15,000
Years Training: Five to eight
Child gymnasts train 300 days a year, for many hours a day, which requires a huge commitment of time and gas money from their parents. Expenses of $1,000 or more a month for elite gyms and training is typical.
Annual Cost: $5,000
Years Training: 10
Beyond the $200 shoes that need to be replaced about once a year, expect to spend about $4,000 to $5,000 in travel each year.
Annual Cost: $3,000
Years Training: Three to 10
The bike alone costs $10,000 or more, but USA Cycling budgets $3.4 million a year for the 250 to 300 athletes accepted into its training program.
Annual Cost: Negligible
Years Training: Two to four If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get your kid Olympic gold, handball is your best bet -- since most begin playing as adults, the cost is in lost wages as careers are put on hold. The U.S. team did not qualify for the Olympics this year.
Annual Cost: Negligible
Years Training: Two-plus
If you excel on your college crew team, you’ll be invited to a training center that covers your costs. However, many do odd jobs for locals in exchange for housing, and most live on less than $1,000 a month.
WATCH: P&G Helps Moms of Olympians Travel to the Olympic Games
Kate Winick is a lifestyle writer, editor, and social media obsessive living in NYC. Follow her on twitter at @katewinick.