The 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang are upon us, and one question is on everyone's mind: how much do these amazing athletes get paid? It doesn't matter if you're an ice skater, a bobsledder, or a speed skater, all Olympic athletes receive the same salary of (drumroll please) zero dollars! Yes, you read that right, the most talented athletes from each country actually don't make any money just for appearing in the Olympics.
"Most of them rely on small stipends from the USOC, support from local businesses, or supplemental income from a day job," reported CNN in 2016. While most countries provide government funding for their star athletes, the United States does not. However, they do provide a huge incentive to perform well — The United States Olympic Committee will shell out $25,000 for gold medals won, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. Oh, and that's taxable, by the way. As a matter of fact, the sports often cost the player more than it makes them. They need to pay for coaches, trainers, uniforms, equipment, travel... it all adds up.
However, there's plenty of money in the game for people that can make a name for themselves through big personalities or unbelievable talent. Michael Phelps, for example, is estimated to have a net worth of $55 million, according to Bankrate.com, but that's coming from sponsorships and endorsement deals, not swimming. Subway, Under Armour, Visa... those things bring in a lot of moolah!
Snowboarder Shaun White and skier Lindsey Vonn are among the highest earners at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Thanks to endorsement deals with Burton, Kraft, and Red Bull, Shawn reportedly rakes in over $10 million per year, according to Business Insider. Meanwhile, Lindsey works with Rolex, Oakley, and Under Armour, giving her an alleged net worth of $3 million. Hey, at least someone's making money!