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Jamie Greubel Uses Agile Finance Regimen on Road to Sochi

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) For athletes like bobsled pilot Jamie Greubel , the chance to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi costs a pretty penny. In order to afford the privilege of going for gold, the 30-year-old had to build a strong and agile fundraising regimen to complement her workout routine.

The expenses add up fast for the Newton, Penn. native and former track star at Cornell: Greubel has been on the U.S. bobsled team since the 2007-2008 season, and each year it costs her $15,000 to $20,000 to chase her dreams.

Given the financial burdens of travel, training and equipment, a TD Ameritrade survey found that nearly one in three Olympic athletes (30%) do not put money into a savings or investment account on a consistent basis. In addition, 32% would use a sudden windfall to pay off their debt.

"Olympic athletes and aspiring Olympians face unique financial challenges," said Dedra DeLilli, director of marketing and partnerships at TD Ameritrade. "Just as their success as athletes is determined by small moments that add up over time, they need to take the same small steps to save money to fund their Olympic dreams."

Greubel was beset by the same financial challenges most athletes of her caliber face. After moving up to Lake Placid, the hub for bobsled hopefuls, Greubel landed a number of odd jobs to make ends meet.

She worked at the creperie in town and at Caffe Rustica, a local Italian restaurant. But it's tough for athletes in training to hold down full-time, high-paying jobs with their grueling workout schedule and specifically assigned daytime gym hours. Greubel, who in 2006 set the Ivy League Meet record in the heptathlon, was no stranger to gut-wrenching workouts, but the transition to ice and the quick-burst calisthenics were trying.

"We train like weight lifters and sprinters, so you have all of your training throughout the week, and then on top of that I was working 60-hour weeks waitressing and catering for weddings," Greubel said.

That can take a toll on the body but is a necessary evil.

"It's definitely not ideal, because in order to improve your training and push the limits, you need to be able to recover," Greubel said. "But with waitressing, you're on your feet eight hours a day, so that's kind of like the worst case scenario, but at the same time, it's a pretty easy way to make enough money in the two or three months during the summer to fund the season."

Greubel gets a $1,000 monthly stipend for being on the national team, and Team U.S.A. covers her rent at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. Without that boost, she would not be able to afford rent or a weekly grocery bill.