Do Olympic Athletes Get Paid?

olympic-athletes-paid Credit: CC0/Pixabay

Olympic athletes do not get paid a base amount of money for attending the Olympics. Most Olympic athletes rely on a combination of endorsements, training centers, individual sports' governing bodies, initiatives from their home countries, and other full and part-time jobs to generate income.

While some top Olympic athletes are able to attain financial security through corporate sponsorships and endorsements, many of them have to secure funding through other means. The majority of people who compete in the Olympics don't make a living solely as an athlete.

Because the costs of training at the elite level can be high, Olympic athletes and hopefuls often opt to live in a residential training facility. These facilities often cover the cost of entry fees for competitions, equipment, and space to train, in exchange for rent. Three such training facilities are operated by the United States Olympic Committee, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lake Placid, New York, and Chula Vista, California. Each facility caters to different Olympic sports.

Athletes also gain money for wins in the Olympics. The USOC's Operation Gold Program awards athletes on Team USA $25,000 for gold medals, $15,000 for silver medals, and $10,000 for bronze medals. the governing bodies of individual sports often also have financial rewards for doing well or placing in the Olympic Games.

Many Olympic athletes work part or full-time day jobs in order to fund their training. Athletes have had careers as accountants, teachers, actors, web developers, and many other professions. Many athletes choose to pursue work related to their sport, working as guides or coaches.

Notable athletes such as Ryan Lochte, Shaun White, Apollo Ohno and Michael Phelps earn millions of dollars from endorsements and sponsorships. Most Olympic athletes, especially those in track and field, only make a little over $15,000 per year from endorsements, says Business Insider. Athletes who play obscure sports generally don’t get endorsement opportunities.