Nqobile Ndlovu Profile picture
Jul 18 13 tweets 4 min read
How Much Do Track & Field Athletes Get Paid 🤔

It's #WorldAthleticsChamps time and athletes are wowing the world but how much are they paid and why are so many athletes broke?

Let's get into it


#Eugene2022 #WorldChamps2022
A total of almost $8.5 million is up for grabs this year.

World Athletics has set aside $2 million from fines paid by the Russian Athletics Federation for violating rules on doping, to add to the prize money for the Oregon Championships
Aside from this, there will be an extra incentive for athletes to set new records.

Japanese electronics company TDK is handing out $100,000 each to gold medal winners who break an IAAF World Record in the process.
The top eight in each event will win a cash prize.

Individual winners receive the same amount, regardless of which event they participate in.

Relay winners are awarded prize money per team.
In general, athletes struggle financially.

A global study of 500 elite athletes done prior to the Tokyo Olympics found that nearly 60% did not consider themselves financially stable.

It was further found that over 80% of Olympians had day jobs and aren't full time athletes.
As an athlete you are an independent contractor and are solely responsible for a myriad of costs including:

- Agent (15% to 20% of earnings)
- Paying your coach
- Massage therapists
- Gym
- Nutritionist
- Food
- Equipment (shoes every 2 or 3 months)
- Travel
- Accomodation
- Tax
The top athletes get stipends to help prepare for competition but because resources are thin, stipends are often invested in those with the possibility of winning medals.

📸ASA & SASCOC Budgets ⬇️
Sponsorships And Endorsements

Sponsorships can be a big financial boost for athletes

While only the top athletes get paid for associations with brands such as Nike, Adidas and Hoka, being able to get a value in kind deal where you get training gear without cash still helps.
Additional income can be earned by associating with big running clubs. Eliud Kipchoges NN Running Team recieves millions in sponsorship from

- NN Group
- Nike
- Abbott

Appearance Fees

The very best of the best also get paid appearance fees just for showing up and generally don't have to qualify for races.
Let's use Usain Bolt as an example.

At the peak of his competitive career Usain was one of the highest-paid athletes in the world, especially during Olympics years.

He easily earned $20 million per year in the years leading up to the Olympics.
Most of that was in endorsements.

Bolt earned $31 million between June 2017 and June 2018. Out of that $31 million, $30 million came from endorsments

His Puma deal paid $9 million per year and he charged an estimated $250-300k for a single track appearance

As a whole, the life of a track and field athlete is not glamorous at all.

Most work long and hard to compete at the highest level without very little financial reward.

That wraps it up for this one.

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