Financing an Olympic dream has never been easy.
The windfalls for Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps are the exception; struggling to pay for training sessions and travel is the rule.
That's why Australian beach volleyball player Claire Kelly's new idea may be one of the savviest business moves by an Olympic-level athlete since Phelps got a $1 million bonus from Speedo.
Kelly is selling advertising space on her body -- forever -- offering the chance to brand her with a tattoo that will be visible to potentially millions of televisions around the world. A small fee of $10,000 will get you a 2cm X 2cm space on her left arm, and $50,000 will get you a 5cm X 5cm space on her right arm or shoulder. And there are more spaces available, as well.
Kelly hopes the funds raised by her body billboard will support her and her teammate, Carla Kleverlaan, on the internationally televised world pro tour, on which you have to compete in 12 events to be eligible for the London Olympics.
That means Kelly may be covered in tattoos, but it only gives her a shot at the Olympics. She and Kleverlaan have to do the rest on the sand courts. But Kelly isn't deterred. She thinks her "London Olymp-ink" will be more than worth the temporary pain and possible long-term shame.
And if she makes the Olympics, there's more potential bang for the buck for her advertisers while she realizes her life's goal.
If she doesn’t, well, she'll have the solace of knowing she gave it a try -- and a great topic for cocktail parties.