The Olympics are special in so many ways, bringing countries, states, and towns together. The Olympics bring people together—and from my perspective, nowhere is this more important right now than in the United States. An Olympic competitor has to be up for the task physically, and in the zone mentally. But what if they have other thoughts clouding their thinking?
Recently the news has been reporting stories of several Olympians whose families may be having financial problems. Financial problems do not discriminate, and no one is immune. So, even though some individuals may have family members participating in the Olympics, they are still dealing with the same issues as a large percentage of Americans. In a way, I’m upset that something so personal is being broadcast for everyone to know about.
At the same time though, I’m glad to see these family’s plights being aired. I think it would be refreshing and helpful for the media to air an interview where we can see one of the family members being totally frank—perhaps explaining that they have been trying to modify their mortgage for the last two years. Perhaps their paperwork was lost several times, or perhaps they were turned down for a modification for some silly reason.
As a bankruptcy and consumer protection attorney, I am a problem solver and the attorney side of my brain kicks in, wanting to see all the pieces of the puzzle. I don’t want to judge these individuals; I want to see what I can do to help. I want to know if they have other debts besides the mortgage. I want to know what brought them to where they are, and then help them craft a plan of attack to put their minds at ease, allowing them to focus on the future.
The United States may have the glory of bringing a pile of medals home, but we also have a pile of problems here right now that are of Olympic proportions. Bringing these families into a greater discussion of the financial challenges weighing down so many Americans right now could be a golden opportunity in bringing our country together—rather than dividing, oppressing, and depressing us.
As Michael Phelps united our country in a way no one else could—maybe, just maybe one of these family’s financial situations could unite our country to make some changes to help one another let everyone know they are not alone, and that if we all work as hard as Olympians do, we can all make a difference and bring about change.