When you see an athlete on television, it’s easy to think they are wealthy, but this is not necessarily the case.
The Olympics showcases a variety of sports and is the ultimate competition for many athletes. However, not all athletes are paid the same and, in some instances, they need to have an additional job to pay the bills.
A survey of 500 professional athletes found that 60% did not consider themselves financially stable, suggested to be down to the way athletes are incentivised to succeed in their sport.
In the US, athletes aren’t paid for being at the games. Instead, those competing must win a medal to receive a financial sum. Interestingly, the US is one of the very few countries that doesn’t take care of the finances of its competitors.
With that said, athletes can get stipends from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). According to Business Insider, bronze medallist in the women’s team sabre event Monica Aksamit earns $300 (USD) per month. The maximum an athlete can earn is $4,000 every month. This rate varies on how well the athlete performs and how popular the sport is.
Additionally, medals do come with a cash prize for athletes in the US. This is an untaxed $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze. Of course, the issue with this revenue is that its infrequent and highly contested, and there is no fee if an athlete doesn’t win a medal.
The largest amount of money can be made from sponsorships and brand deals. Nonetheless, niche sports struggle to have the following that allows its athletes to generate considerable revenue from these kinds of deals.
In more mainstream events like track and field, there is still not a huge amount of profit. In 2012, Business Insider found that nearly half of track and field athletes made $15,000 or less.
As a result, athletes have turned to crowdsourcing and part-time jobs so that they can fund themselves.
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