Olympian Jamie Anderson Went From Hand-Me-Downs To Gold Medals

So you’re thinking of taking up a new hobby or sport, only you find that your budget isn’t exactly accommodating — we’ve all been there. Even worse, though, is when it’s your kids who want to try something new and you simply can’t afford it.

From ballet to soccer, golf, music lessons or skiing, it’s not cheap to have your kids involved in activities, but the thought of letting them down is pretty heart-wrenching.

Luckily, the equipment needed for such interests doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, simply picking up used merchandise instead can help your kids achieve their dreams without putting you in debt.

children dance class photo
Flickr | gabrielsaldana

Olympic Athlete Wouldn’t Be Where She Is Without Hand-Me-Downs

Perhaps nobody knows that lesson better than Jamie Anderson, an Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder for Team USA. Today she’s the first female snowboarder to win more than one Olympic gold medal — but when she got started, Anderson’s first snowboard wasn’t the fanciest on the slopes. It was actually a hand-me-down board given to her by a friend.

“Growing up in a big family, it’s not easy to help everyone do all sports they want to do,” Anderson said. “We had family friends who had a daughter around our age who gave me my first snowboard, boots and outerwear.”

Jamie Anderson photo
Getty Images | Marianna Massey

As one of eight children, Anderson knows something about not having the latest and greatest gear, but said her family always found ways to make the most of hand-me-downs. Now the face of Downy’s new Nature Blends fabric conditioner, Anderson said her family quickly learned that taking care of their clothing meant they could keep handing it down, which is important to the Olympian.

After all, a simple hand-me-down changed her life.

“I think about it all the time — if it wasn’t for that family, I may not have ever had that opportunity to snowboard,” she told Simplemost. “It inspired me to give back to future generations.”

jamie anderson photo
Getty Images | Cameron Spencer

Through the Jamie Anderson Foundation, the athlete and “Dancing With the Stars” alum continues to work with hand-me-downs, providing more than 30 young winter sports athletes with equipment, clothing, season passes and financial backing for travel to national competitions organized by the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association. Her work is proving to everyone that anything is possible, even if you don’t think it’s within your means.

“The biggest limitation we have in life is our own thoughts. If we believe that something will happen, you can make it happen,” Anderson said. “It’s scary to think outside of the box, but those are the people who make their dreams a reality. I firmly believe that the universe will provide you with what you need if you’re open to it.”

jamie anderson photo
Getty Images | Cameron Spencer

Where To Find Used Sports Equipment

Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace are two places to hunt for used sports equipment.

You should also consider checking out vendors such as Play It Again Sports and SidelineSwap that specialize in buying and selling used equipment, as this may help ensure you’re buying a quality item.

If you’re child’s into music, don’t let the price tag of musical instruments stop him or her from playing. Play It Again Sports’ sister company Music Go Round sells used instruments, as do Reverb.com and Guitar Center.