Mother sacrifices all including bankruptcy to put her talented daughter through Olympic training
Natalie Hawkins, the mother of U.S. Olympic sensation Gabby Douglas had previously remarked that gymnastics was an expensive sport. It has since come to light that Hawkins has since filed for bankruptcy, being $79,754.14 in debt with only assets totaling $163,706.10.
Hawkins filed for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy earlier this year in Virginia.
Hawkins owes Capital One, Sprint and T-Mobile more than $6,000. Among her other debts are an Orthodontist in Iowa, where Gabby trained aged 14 and a student loan of $4,350.23.
Hawkins raised her four children largely by herself and is in the middle of divorcing her soldier husband. She has begun the slow process of paying off her debt in February with monthly installments of $408.
After 16-year-old Gabby Douglas’ stunning performance, earning her two gold medals, however, her family’s financial troubles will quickly disappear. It’s estimated that Douglas will make $10 million in endorsements alone.
Called “The Flying Squirrel,” Douglas is already sponsored by consumer goods firm P&G and her commercial deals will continue to stack up.
With her healthy, wholesome and all-American persona, Douglas will be ideal for many companies. She could easily earn her $9 to 10million over the next four years, according to marketing expert Dan Migala.
Her success has come after a long, dark tunnel for her family. With Gabby’s father Staff Sgt Timothy Douglas serving in the U.S. army abroad, the family applied for military scholarships to help fund Gabby’s training.
In 2006, Douglas received a $500 grant from Our Military Kids, a non-profit that helps fund children’s activities while their parents are overseas. This grant paid for her to attend a gymnastics camp in Texas with renowned coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, who stayed by Gabby’s side and helped her win the gold in London.
“In the grand scheme of things, $500 may not seem like that much money, but it made the difference between keeping Gabby at home and sending her to a camp that would play a part in molding her into the Olympic gymnast she is today,” Hawkins said.
After that camp, Gabby told her mother that she wanted to move from their home in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to train with Chow, who coached Shawn Johnson in 2008.
Hawkins originally refused the request, as there was no way she was allowing the youngest of her four children to move halfway across the country at 14.
Her mother finally relented, but not without many second thoughts, including: “That I was crazy. I must have lost my marbles. But she wanted this more than anything.”
Today, that risk has paid off more than the family could have ever imagined.