Even Olympians Need Bankruptcy Help | Haines & Krieger

Olympic athletes and their families travel a long and difficult road to glory. There are many challenges along the way and tremendous obstacles to overcome. Staying on the path to success demands personal sacrifice. All parents know the personal and financial sacrifices they make for their children. However, recently the sacrifices made by some parents of Olympic athletes have become media fodder.

Some news sources are reporting that the mother of U.S. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in Virginia. This news comes after reports that the parents of U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte were facing foreclosure in Florida. Both Douglas and Lochte won gold medals for the United States during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Bankruptcy court documents show that Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy that allows individuals to repay debts over three to five years. Hawkins shows total assets of $163,706, including a townhouse in Virginia Beach, and total debts of $80,000. She is separated from her husband and lists about $2,500 in monthly income, which comes from Social Security disability benefits and child support.

Likewise, Olympic athletes are not immune from financial problems. Skater Dorothy Hamill won gold in 1976, but needed bankruptcy relief in 1996 after losing money in her business, Ice Capades. Other U.S. Olympic gold medalists have filed for bankruptcy protection, including runner Marion Jones, boxer Leon Spinks, and basketball stars Scottie Pippen and Sheryl Swoopes. Even Jesse Owens, often considered the greatest U.S. Olympic athlete, needed bankruptcy help in 1939.

We all face personal problems from time to time. Sometimes these troubles are financial and require decisive action. The federal bankruptcy code can provide immediate and powerful relief to help you reorganize your finances. Chapter 7 can discharge your debts in as little as four months; while Chapter 13 can give you time to repay debts over three to five years. The bankruptcy laws help you develop a better financial game plan and provide a fresh start.