Olympic athletes spend years, perhaps even most of their lives, training in the hope of winning medals at the Games. But with all that training where do these stars find the time to make money?
Well, for those Olympians who manage to make it to the podium, there’s a distinct chance that they will become incredibly wealthy through big money endorsements with big companies. Indeed, these five Olympians managed to make themselves filthy rich through such endorsements:
Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, was perhaps the first real Olympic superstar. Worth an estimated $100 million, Jenner was once adorned on Wheaties boxes across the country. The athlete also had lucrative endorsements with Ford Motors, Coca-Cola, and General Mills.
Perhaps one of the greatest Olympians in history – some list him as high as the second best Olympian to date – Michael Phelps’ agent once revealed that the swimmer had the potential to earn $100 million in career endorsements. Phelps, who won an astonishing 18 gold medals before retiring, is thought to be worth around $55 million after endorsements from Subway, Visa, Speedo, Powerbar and A&T Wireless. Phelps now has a chance to not only add to his medal total in 2016 but make big money in endorsement dollars as well.
The philanthropist has used his wealth to help good causes and even started his own charity called the Michael Phelps Foundation.
Dubbed the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt has already won 6 gold medals in his career. But it is perhaps his engaging personality and signature lightning pose that really caught the attention of corporate sponsors. Bolt is thought to be worth an estimated $30 million and has endorsed brands such as Visa, Gatorade, Virgin Media, Hublot and Nissan. And the offers keep coming in, as it was recently revealed that he has signed an endorsement deal with All Nippon Airways, the official sponsor for Tokyo 2020.
The South Korean figure skater is perhaps one of the most successful of all time in her sport. Indeed, Kim Yuna, who has an estimated net worth of $21 million, is listed as one of the highest paid female athletes ever and has held endorsements with Nike, Korean Air, Kookmin Bank and Hyundai.
Most recently, Yuna has become a model for jewelry brand J.Estina and has worn the brand’s jewelry throughout her career.
Shaun White is a living legend in the world of snowboarding. In fact, he earned his first endorsement at just seven years old.
Estimated to be worth around $20 million, the star has worked with various brands including Red Bull, Ubisoft, Oakley, Hewlett-Packard and Burton Snowboard. He has also had his name used in various snowboarding video games.
White recently announced that he intends to compete at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
The Key to Big Money Endorsements for Olympians
Of course, not everyone who competes in the Olympics, or wins a medal at the Games, will get big money endorsements. The athletes above brought something more than just talent to win the hearts of the crowd – they also brought extremely big and likable personalities. A personality that inspired others to want to be exactly like them.
After all, for a brand to want to endorse you they want a star that will sell their product to the public effortlessly.
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I think the pressure to secure endorsement deals can be overwhelming for some athletes. It’s great to see athletes being rewarded for their hard work and dedication, but I also worry about the impact of endorsement money on their personal lives and the expectations placed on them by sponsors.
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