Do Olympic athletes get paid? How Olympians make money, explained

Do Olympic athletes get paid? How Olympians make money, explained

The Winter Olympics take place in Beijing, China this month with nearly 3,000 total athletes traveling to the games.

Olympic athletes train for years at a time, competing in various events ahead of the Winter Olympics. Additionally, they stay in the Olympic village for around a month. 

With of all this time designated to the Olympics, how do Olympic athletes make money? Here’s an insight into where their income comes from.

Do Olympic athletes get paid?

Olympic athletes do not get paid by just attending the Olympic Games.

However, if an athlete earns a medal, there is a medal bonus attached to it. A gold medal is worth $37,500, a silver medal is worth $22,500 and a bronze medal is worth $15,000. So, not only is there an incentive to stand on the pedestal in order to have your name etched in Olympic history, but the athletes also look forward to the cash prize that comes with it.

Do Olympians pay for their expenses while at the games?

Spending around a month in the Olympic village can be costly for Olympic athletes. However, the Olympic Committee tends to pay for most of the expenses, such as food, accommodation and transportation. 

Most teams have corporate or private sponsors who pay for the Olympians’ costs.

If there are any other additional costs not covered by the committee, athletes must look to their sponsors to cover the expenses. So, the short answer is no, that Olympians don’t normally pay for any expenses while competing at the Olympics.

What other ways can Olympians make money?

Athletes can sign personal sponsorship deals to earn money apart from winning medals. Although the medal bonuses help, it is not enough money to live off of, especially when the Olympic Games only occur every four years.

There are a few different types of sponsorships Olympic athletes can sign with. The first is a corporate sponsorship, which is when a company pays the athlete to wear its brand on their clothing. These logos will appear on the athletes’ clothing during non-Olympic competitions, though.

Another source of income is through endorsement deals. This is very common with medal-winning Olympians. For example, snowboarder Chloe Kim signed with Nike, meaning she can appear on their advertisements. 

For Olympic athletes who may not be big names quite yet, they often receive funding from friends or family and local businesses. Additionally, Olympians can receive an athletic grant or part-time job through the Olympic Job Opportunities Program.