Chicago Community Raises $14K to Send Olympian’s Family to London Games

Chicago Community Raises $14K to Send Olympian's Family to London GamesEllis Coleman is going for gold at this summer’s Olympic Games in Greco-Roman wrestling, but he was saddened to learn that his mother wouldn’t be able to afford a trip to London with him. Now, thanks to a generous community, she will get a chance to cheer him on in person.

Coleman’s mother, Yolanda Barral, spent her family’s life savings on a chance to see him wrestle at Olympic qualifying — but then when he made the team, she wasn’t going to be able to afford a trip across the pond. The USOC only provides two free tickets to an athlete’s event at the games, but athlete’s families are on their own for airfare and lodging.

The wrestling program at Coleman’s old high school in the family’s hometown of Oak Park, Ill., heard about Barral’s hardship and decided to take action. It held a fundraising event in late June, raising over $14,000 for Barral.

Now, thanks to the community’s generosity, Barral will get a chance to see her son compete. Coleman, whose signature move is called “the Flying Squirrel,” is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team.

“I compete for my mom,” Coleman told “I’m striving to get a medal for my mom. It’s all for her.”

And thanks to one generous community, if he does win, he’ll be able to share it with her in person.

Thumbnail photo via Facebook/Ellis Coleman

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