Taking endorsements, even with Wheaties, helps the athletes make money during the the off season. But that $15,000 didn't come from one person or one source â the athletes had to work hard to get that money together. key competition last year granted him 9 months of money to cover training and living expenses. Olympic athletes do not sign a contract guaranteeing them money, and according to USA Today, the United States government does not pay athletes for competing in the Olympics, even if they are there to represent the country (say what). Because that is what a "salary" technically is â a fixed amount of money that a person gets paid per paid period, regardless of how much time and effort they put into their job or the projects they take on the side. But it's a numbers game, as Business Insider points out: There are about 15,000 athletes at the Games and only about 1,000 medals. They report that monthly stipends, reserved for top Olympic competitors, generally range from $400 to $2,000, which, for any of you who've paid rent in the last two decades know, isn't very much to live off of. We'll put it this way: Most athletes aren't bringing home bacon. Millions of people from all over the world this month will watch as select athletes get to compete in the Winter Olympics and watching the Olympics might inspire some of those people to become an olympic athlete. But most Olympic athletes find value in the experience and getting their name out there than making money, according to USA Today. 2020 Bustle Digital Group. Many younger athletes also rely on family members to help out with the high training fees. So if you win big (like, ten-gold-medals big), you're set. News, largely due to the sponsorships he takes. And while the rest of us can sit back, relax, and wait for the games to begin, most athletes don't have that luxury â especially if it's their livelihood. Though some star athletes (like Michael Phelps or post-2012 Douglas) are able to score highly lucrative sponsorship or endorsement deals after their wins, others aren't quite as lucky. Lochte's 2012 Olympics appearance was accompanied by deals with companies like Gillette and Gatorade, amounting to millions in sponsorship dollars. So how exactly do Olympians make it work while also paying for their regular living expenses? But Olympic athletes make their money a little differently than most, according to CBS Sports, including athletes who play for a national sports team. The few that do are probably set. Athletic Trusts, only about 10 percent of the USOC's budget went to support athletes (granted this was from 2013 figures). Some countries' national Olympic committees offer monetary prizes for placing first, second, or third. As a result, most athletes are struggling to train for the 2016 Rio Olympics and keep up with the rent at the same time. Although this is far less than what other countries award their athletes, according to Business Insider, this bonus is the most money that Olympians have ever taken home for winning a medal. Oh, and it helps if they've actually won a title that companies can brag about when they slap their photo in an ad. ", Others hold down other jobs, such as waitress, coaching, modeling, or tech, while training to help balance out the costs. But if they do have a salary, it is because of their side jobs, not because of the Olympics. As the old saying goes, "do what you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life." So, to sum it up, you could get paid as an Olympic athlete â if you have the chiseled bod of a Greek statue, the charm of Tom Hiddleston, and the physical ability to execute a double half layout (Google it). For example, The Conversation reports that U.S. swimming provides "approximately $3,000 to national team members of its top 16 ranked athletes. Believe it or not, Olympians don't get paid to train. One thing's for sure: it isn't easy. If you're asking yourself, Do Olympic athletes get paid for all this?, the short answer is no. 2020 Bustle Digital Group. Ahead of the 2012 Games in London, US News reported that gold medalist gymnast Gabby Douglas' mother had filed for bankruptcy, partly due to âthe high cost of her daughterâs training.". Olympic athletes do not sign a contract guaranteeing them money, and according to USA Today, the United States government does not pay athletes for competing in the Olympics, even if … In 1986, professional athletes could compete in every Olympic sport. But if money was ever motivation for their dreams, then finding out if the Olympic athletes get a salary might just put those dreams to a halt. Where official cash prizes don't deliver, though, companies can. But there are other ways that the Olympics can translate into a cashflow for athletes. Nike isn't necessarily going to offer a contract to an athlete without some X factor: infectious charm, an inspiring story, some endearing quality that buyers will connect with. Even past Olympian champions often have to struggle to pay to continue their training. But once Olympic athletes win gold medals, they do start seeing money come through (just through a bonus and not through a salary). That’s because American Olympic athletes had to be amateurs (no payment) until 1978, whereupon the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act was adopted. Ahead of the 2012 Olympics, according to Forbes, one study found that half of the athletes ranked high in their sport, "only made $15,000 annually" from all sources of income. Believe it or not, Olympians don't get paid to train. All rights reserved. And despite the huge revenue that the Olympic brings in, according to the U.S. While Olympic athletes do make money, they're not just working 40 hours a week (or more) like someone who has an office job and who knows what they'll be making at the end of each month or each year. Money should never stop people from chasing their dreams, but if you thought the life of an Olympian was as glamorous as the cameras make it seem, then you thought wrong. As only half of U.S. track athletes bring in more than $15,000 a year from their sport, Business Insider reports, there are other ways to generate cashflow. And at the end of the day, for athletes competing in the Olympics, getting the opportunity to go for the gold (and actually winning a medal) is more important than any salary you can get in an office job. If you happen to be a picture-perfect sports icon that captures the hearts and mind of Americans (think Michael Phelps, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Ryan Lochte), companies might make a deal to translate that into consumer buying behavior. Case in point? That includes endorsements, money won from competition, corporate sponsors, and grants given to them so they could go and compete in the Olympics. Yep, let that sink in for a minute. Still, the fact that every Olympian competitor has to work so hard â both physically and otherwiseâ to even get a shot at the games only makes their stories all the more inspiring. A 2015 study found that fresh college graduates earned an average salary of $50,556. They choose to compete to represent their country and excel at the sport that they love. All Olympic athletes competing for the United States earn a "medal bonus" according to Money Under 30, where they make money for each medal earned for their country. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is worth a reported $55 million, according to E! Some people work hourly jobs, according to The Penny Hoarder, working in retail or the food service industry â while other athletes have their own businesses, work in the entertainment industry, or coach sports themselves. As speed skater Mitch Whitmore told NerdWallet, a fourth place finish at a key 2017 competition granted him a nine-month stipend to fund his training and … The answer, in short, is a lot . Yep, let that sink in for a minute. Some athletes get special funding from the national governing bodies of their respective sports, but it's usually only a limited amount. The IOC states that 90 percent of its massive revenue goes back to athletes and sport worldwide, but reading the 2016 financial report's fine print shows that there are a lot of costs that this covers, including staging the games, team development, and more. This is why you see so many athletes on Wheaties boxes in the cereal aisle at the grocery store every two years. At the end of the day, athletes certainly aren't getting a big payout. Jamie Squire/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images, a fixed amount of money that a person gets paid, does not pay athletes for competing in the Olympics, didn't come from one person or one source, working in retail or the food service industry. And at the end of the day, that kind of passion is what people preach to young children when it comes to finding a career.