$$$ Behind the Olympic Athlete $$$

We see them on T.V. in their limelight, doing what they do best. They put hours, days, months, YEARS into their training. They eat healthy, sleep enough, keep a "fighter's" attitude, spend hours away from family, from friends, from school and they play to WIN. I'm talking about Olympic athletes and Olympic athletes in training. 

But effort, time and heart isn't all that goes into someone training for the Olympic level. Money, and I mean LOTS of money, goes into training.

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Missy Franklin, four-time Olympic gold medalist and American competition swimmer, has put some major money into her athletic passions. According to the New York Times, "between team dues and travel, her parents will spend upward of $100,000 this year on swimming-related expenses."

So while it's obvious that these Olympians shell out a lot of loot for their passions and athletic dreams, what EXACTLY do they get back money-wise for their pursuits?

Well... this is where it can get confusing. 

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First,  a little history...

Back before the 1970s, in order to compete in the Olympics, one had to hold an amateur status, meaning you could receive no money, no sponsorship or endorsement for your sport. Then in 1978, the International Olympic Committee adopted the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, eliminating the necessity of amateurism. This allowed U.S. Olympic athletes able to receive sponsorship, endorsement and payment for the first time. 

In 1978, the United States adopted the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, allowing athletes on the U.S. Olympic team to receive financial awards, sponsorship, and payments for the first time.

 

How much do they make?

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Just because someone is at an Olympic level, trains like crazy and puts ton of money into their athletic career does not mean they're making much, at all. Though these athletes are paid if they medal ($25,000 for a gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze,) they aren't paid much else unless they're popular. For example, someone like Michael Phelps is making millions of dollars off of sponsorships, yet according to CNN, "Only 50% of American track and field athletes who are ranked in the top ten in the nation in their event earn more than $15,000 a year in income from the sport, according to a survey conducted by the USA Track and Field Foundation."

So...?

These Olympic athletes are truly an inspiration. They put so much on the line through training, money and a healthy lifestyle, that it's hard to imagine it comes at such a low pay out. Most of these Olympic athletes and aspiring Olympic athletes aren't doing it for money, but for the love of the sport. You just wouldn't be able to tell how much finances come into play when watching them during the Olympics, but still, they do. 

Until next time,

Vicky :)