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US athletes use crowdfunding to support Olympic dream

14 February 2014 Last updated at 02:58 GMT

When the athletes of Team USA walked into the opening ceremony at the 2014 Winter Olympics, dozens had only made the trip to Sochi because of generous financial support by private donors.

Unlike in other countries, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is not directly funded by the government. The financial resources it has to spread among hundreds of athletes are thin.

All three women short track speed skaters competing in Sochi had to reach out to potential private donors through a website called RallyMe.com to gather the funds necessary to afford a World Cup season, training, and ultimately a trip to Russia.

The BBC spoke to Emily Scott and Jessica Smith about the financial struggles most Olympic athletes face.

Produced by the BBC's Franz Strasser

Training filmed at Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah.

Photographs by Getty Images and Emily Scott.

Sochi Stories is a series of video features published during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games highlighting athletes in Canada and the US on their journey to Sochi.

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