How Do Olympics Athletes Make Money?

how olympic athletes earnThe Olympics are now drawing to close, with a lot of money spent and a lot of questions asked. The £11 Billion+ budget has been spent on constructions, infrastructure, organization, and so on. But a lot of people have been asking the same questions. Do the athletes get any of it? The short answer, actually, is no. The money spent by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) goes majorly into organizing the events, dealing with the audience, setting up and decorating the venues, and so on. So the big question is, how do the athletes make money? Where does the money come from and how much are they paid?

As far as the question of how much they earn, we have already answered that. You might the following post;

Olympics 2012


Sponsorships are the primary source of funding for many athletes. Take Micheal Phelps for example. He has struck sponsorship deals with various large corporate brands such as Proctor and Gambols, Omega Watches, Speedo, Nike, Subway, and so on over his remarkable career. The sport, swimming, isn’t very lucrative in itself. But Phelps has eked out 22 medals from it, 18 of them Gold, along with millions of dollars.

Micheal Phelps

Then there are the top 10 richest Olympic athletes that have become rich mainly through endorsement and sponsorship deals. Maria Sharapova, for example, has deals with Nike and Canon. Roger Federer has won deals with Mercedes Benz, Nike, Rolex, Gillette and so on. A major portion of such athletes’ wealth comes from sponsorships.

Roger Federer

Now of course, everyone is not as lucky as these decorated, well-funded pros. A lot of the not well-known athletes, especially the new ones have to collect funds for themselves by taking on other jobs.

Olympic Prizes

Most people think that just like other sports such as Tennis or Formula One, you get money if you win in the Olympics. Well, that isn’t true. Olympic athletes just get medals. And as we have already discussed, these medals have more symbolic value than money-worth. Typically, Gold medals cost around $650, Silver medals cost around $350, and Bronze medals cost a modest $10. These medals are worth little, and no true athlete, unless he is really needy, would trade his medals for money.

Olympic medals

Government sponsorships

Talented athletes also get sponsorships from their country’s governments. Some countries support all of their representatives in the Olympics, and offer extra rewards for medalists. The Italian government offers more than £120,000 in reward to Gold medalists. Similarly, the Russian government offers large rewards for medalists. The Indian government supports all its players, even those who can not afford to travel. Hence, every country has a policy of some kind to support its players.

What else?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) distributes 90% of its generated revenue to the local Olympic Committees to ease the burden on the athletes. It has its own program as well, Solidarity, that provides training, equipment and travel money for particularly needy athletes. Hence, the IOC tries to bridge the gap between the rich and poor athletes to makwe them compete on a fair, level ground.

The rest of the athletes though, they have to make way for themselves. Many regular-job people also decide to train for Olympics. We have already seen dentists, school teachers, and even a Buddhist monk compete for the 2012 Olympics. So, all in all, these athletes get around one way or another. Some aren’t as lucky as others, but then again, they get to show the world their talents, one way or another. And its only the talented ones that come on top.

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