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How Do Olympic Athletes Make a Living?

Vincent Nyoike
Vincent Nyoike Finance

Have you ever wondered how Olympic athletes make a living? Olympics happen after every four years and Olympic athletes are forced to work other jobs; full-time or part time to make a living. The income they make after winning medals is not sufficient to sustain them for four yours. Luckily, Olympians can leverage their fame and make money out of it.

In this article, we are going to focus on how Olympic athletes make a living besides the money they get after winning medals.

Do Olympic Athletes Get Paid?

Yes. Olympic athletes get paid in different ways apart from participating in Olympic games. The main source of income for Olympic athletes is through sponsorships. However, they are paid a bonus if they win a medal.

How much do Olympic athletes make? The U.S. Olympic Committee pays $37,500 for a gold medal, $22,500 for a silver medal, and $15,000 for a bronze medal.

Who Pays Olympic Athletes to Go to The Olympics?

Teams and athletes have corporate and private sponsors who pay for them to go to the Olympics. Besides, some countries also help to cater for the expenses of their Olympians. For instance, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee caters to some of the expenses of the U.S Olympians. 

Do Olympic Athletes Get Paid to Train?

No. Athletes do not get paid to train. Unless they win, Olympians are not paid to train. This leaves many Olympians broke and have to look for other ways to support their livelihood. 

How Do Olympic Athletes Get Paid? 

Below are some of the other ways Olympic athletes make a living.

1. Sponsorships

The main source of income for Olympic athletes is sponsorships. Sponsorships are different from endorsements. Olympic athletes get sponsored by different corporations. For instance, a company can sponsor a team or a single athlete. However, most corporations prefer to sponsor a whole team.

In such a scenario, the team is expected to wear a uniform bearing the logo of the company. Among Olympic athletes making a living this way is Ryan Lochte who was earning $2.3 million from different sponsors. 

2. Prizes from Competitions

One of the major ways Olympic athletes make a living is by winning medals. The medals come with extra compensation. The compensation varies from one country to the other. For instance, the U.S Olympic committee pays $37,500 for gold winners, $22,500 for silver, and $15,000 for bronze.

Besides, some countries give prizes to Olympic athletes that represent their countries. There are other programs that are put in place to support athletes when there are no competitions and even those athletes that are not fortunate to win medals.

Related: Are professional athletes overpaid?

3. Endorsement Deals

The other way Olympic athletes make a living is through endorsement by brands. In order to put products before the eyes of millions of people, brands prefer to use Olympic athletes. Since athletes are famous and have many fans around the world, when they endorse a product, their fans tend to buy it.

Besides, everyone wants to associate him/herself with a winner. By associating with winners, companies are able to attract more customers. It is an excellent way for companies to advertise their products.

4. Coaching Other Athletes

The other way athletes make a living after they retire is by coaching other athletes. More often, when athletes retire, they don’t just go home. Most of them prefer to go and train other athletes. Some sports companies hire retired athletes and pay them full-time or part-time to train new athletes.

5. Special Funds

There are special funds and initiatives like Living the Dream Medal Fund that support American wrestlers. They pay $250,000 for a gold medal, $50,000 for silver and $25,000 for bronze. Some companies in the U.S partner with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee to participate in job opportunity programs. They pay athletes part-time and full-time to participate in Olympics.

Do Olympic Athletes Have Jobs? 

Yes. Most Olympic athletes are not financially stable and they have to take odd jobs to support their sport. They have to work day jobs to cover their expenses. For instance, Olympic athletes need money to buy quality training materials and as such, they need an extra job. 

Summary: How Do Olympic Athletes Make Money?

Many athletes have to take up other jobs to cater to their needs. The prizes they are paid after winning medals are not enough to sustain them for four years. However, during the Olympic games, their expenses are met by their sponsors and sometimes their home countries. Mentioned above are some of the ways the Olympians make a living.

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