Although the media spotlight is currently on our U.S. Olympic athletes, when they jet home from the Olympics, they are returning home to their normal routine, and most often a regular 9 to 5 job. While some Olympic athletes are making just over $9 bucks an hour, there are certainly others that rake in much more, such as a staggering $66 million a year due to their professional status and endorsements.
All U.S. Olympic winners earn a bonus for winning a medal. The USOC (United States Olympic Committee) bonus is $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze medals. While this is appreciated, this is hardly enough money to support an athlete, their coaching and travel expenses to compete. And if you do not medal, there is no monetary compensation for participating in the games.
So, how do Olympic athletes make a living? Here are six U.S. Olympic athletes that ride the spectrum of high and low salaries. How does their their job and annual income income compare to yours?
The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps is certainly the exception more than the rule when it comes to making money. Good Housekeeping estimates that actual swimming competitions bring in a mere two percent of his total annual revenue, while his medals, 21 gold, two silver and two bronze, earned him a staggering $1.89 million dollars.
Yet according to Money, Phelps’ numerous sponsorships are why the Olympian is raking in millions, making his current net worth at $55 million. His many lucrative sponsorships will ensure that there is always diaper money for baby Boomer. They include Sol Republic headphones, Under Armour, Omega, 800razors.com, Master Spas and Aqua Sphere.
Michael Phelps estimated annual salary is $12 million.
While Michael Phelps has an enviable annual salary, his can hardly compare to the highest paid Olympian at Rio, Golden State Warriors forward, Kevin Durant. This basketball star just signed a NBA contract for $300 million over ten years. Yet, his $36 million in endorsements more than doubles that staggering yearly salary.
Being an Olympian as well as NBA player has really paid off. Time says that the 2012 gold medal winner with the 2012 U.S. Basketball team in London now has endorsements with BBVA, Neff and Panini America as well as partnering up with Gatorade, American Family Insurance, Beats By Dre and Sonic.
Kevin Durant estimated annual salary is $66 million.
No stranger to taxing situations, Jorgensen formerly worked at Ernst & Young as a junior tax accountant before leaving everything to train full time for the Olympics. Good thing, as Gwen Jorgensen became the United States’ first ever triathlon gold medal winner. She biked, swam and ran in one hour, 56 minutes, and 16 seconds to get the gold.
As she told Forbes, working as an accountant parlays into her life as an Olympic athlete. She even considers participating in a triathlon as similar to tax season for a tax accountant. You need to work long hours, yet in the end the reward is worth all of the sweat.
“I’ve learned from my accounting experience not to procrastinate and to always stay on top of your work, but I also learned to be fluid. Something always comes up last minute and you have to be prepared to work hard and find a solution. This carries over into triathlon. Every triathlon race is completely different and I have to be prepared for anything and everything. There is no time to react. I must just act. Being comfortable with this fluidity is something that is challenging, but also so important. Now that I’m a full time triathlete, the two things I learned that carry back over into accounting are 1) view my commitments as investments in my career and myself (never view them as a sacrifice) and 2) invest fully in one career. It is better to be successful at one thing than mediocre at two.”
Gwen Jorgensen’s estimated annual salary is $52,887.
Participating in the Contenders program that hires both Olympians and Olympic hopefuls, Mariya Koroleva worked part-time at Dick’s Sporting Goods as she trained for her sport in synchronized swimming. Although the U.S. team did not qualify to compete in the 2016 Olympic games, the Russian-born American athlete competed as a duo with Anita Alvarez placing ninth in Rio.
Mariya Koroleva estimated hourly salary is $9.14.
American shot putter and 2016 Olympic Games gold medal winner, Michelle Carter is the American record holder with a distance of 20.63m set in Rio. A certified makeup artist, she is always glammed up when she competes, so it is no surprise that her company, Shot Diva, sells makeup online. She also has a confidence camp called You Throw Girl. She really loves to make herself and other women look and feel more beautiful.
“I believe when you take the time to take care of yourself and put yourself together, that helps boost your confidence.”
Michael Carter is trained by her father Michael Carter, a former Olympian himself winning the silver in shot put. An overachiever, he also played for the San Francisco 49ers and won the Super Bowl three times. He is the only athlete that has ever won both the Super Bowl and an Olympic medal within 12 months. Before competing in the Olympics, Michelle spoke with IAFF.org, explaining that her father believed in working really hard to accomplish goals. She also stated that in order to beat her father, she needed to win the gold.
“He’s stern, but is a big believer in hard work. I won more high school titles than Dad but he won more NCAA titles. Overall he wins, because he has the Olympic silver medal and to definitely beat him I need to win Olympic gold.”
She won the Olympic gold, so, what is next for Carter? Possibly more endorsements. Right now, her website states that Nike sponsors her, but with a gold and such a great story, could endorsements be next? Right now, her annual salary is based on her work as a professional makeup artist.
Michelle Carter estimated yearly salary is $39,011.
The men’s light flyweight boxer ended the U.S. team’s medal drought as he earned a bronze medal in his first Olympics in Rio. When Nico is not in the ring, the Wichita native works at a trucking company along with his father, who just happens to be his boxing coach. It is hard to say how much longer he will be getting his hands dirty as a lube technician as USA Today reports that Hernandez now plans to turn pro. Unlike many other Olympic sports where there is not a lot of potential beyond the Olympics, this move could eventually skyrocket his salary.
Nico Hernandez estimated yearly salary is $22,264.
How do these Olympic athlete’s salaries compare to yours?
[Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images]