15 Highest Paid Olympic Athletes In 2022 | Best Reviews

The Olympics is one of the oldest and most popular games in the world, which was inspired by the ancient Greeks.

Over the years, the games have continued to evolve up until the modern day Olympics we have today. And these athletes receive fair wages.

In the meanwhile, this article will focus on the highest paid Olympic athletes.

Do Olympic athletes make a lot of money?.

A lot of money is a relative phrase. It depends on what “a lot” means to you.

An average Olympian makes up to $100,000 per year. There are however some that make more, high as $1M annually. Chris McCormack is one such athlete. So, I leave you to do the maths.

Do you think these figures are a lot of money?

News has it that Olympians are rarely compensated for training and get a little token as prize money when they engage in competitions, which makes many people wonder how these athletes make money.

However, they make a lot of money.

How do Olympic athletes make money?

There are many ways that Olympians make money, some of which don’t come directly from the government.

  • Corporate sponsorships.
  • Endorsement deals.
  • Government.

Before I begin the analysis on these points, it is worthy to note that there are different categories of Olympians. We have those who have gotten to the peak of their careers (that is, those who are winning the medals), the ones that are unpopular, and the ones who are just coming along.

The ones who have gotten to the peak of their careers are majorly the ones who get these deals and sponsorships.

Then maybe the unpopular ones will need to keep training hard so as to reach the peak of their careers, continue winning medals, or be on the list of top Olympians to enable them to get annual stipends from the government.

Some get as low as $16,00-$22,000 annually while others may get up to $38,000, depending on the medal that they win (Gold, Silver, Bronze). The amount these athletes make is dependent on the government of their country.

The least Olympian in the category earlier mentioned is usually on the lookout for other channels of income since they can hardly make a living by just being an athlete.

This category almost never gets to earn except by participating in competitions. If they participate and lose, that’s usually a double loss on the athlete’s part.

There is an exception to this system, and that is when a private corporation sees an unusual display of talents or skills in an athlete and invests in them.

Like I said before, this is an exception, it doesn’t happen all the time to newbies in the industry.

Read: Top 10 Highest Paid Boxers in the World | 2022

Corporate sponsorships:

An athlete can get paid when an organization pays to identify with him or the team he’s playing for.

With this, the team or the athlete will always have their company’s logo in their clothes or other fashion items.

Endorsement deals:

In this case, an athlete is paid to advertise a brand and represent them well. If an athlete is lucky enough, they can land multimillion-dollar deals that could help them live luxuriously.


For every medal won, there is a bonus that these athletes are being given which varies on the country they’re from.

In the US, a gold medalist gets a bonus of $32,500-38,000, $22,000-27,000 for a silver medal and $15,000-18,000 for a bronze medal.

There are several other ways an athlete makes money and some of them include opportunities programs and grants strictly for athletes and of course medals that have monetary value in themselves.

How much do Olympic athletes make?

There is no definite amount that an Olympic athlete makes. The only constant prize is the medal bonuses that these athletes receive. Other than that, the money that an athlete makes depends on how much effort he puts to ensure a successful career.

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How to become an Olympic athlete.

For this blog post, we are going to highlight 8 ways to become an Olympic athlete.

• Physical eligibility:

Although there are no age limits to becoming an Olympian, it is wise to ensure that you are physically fit for your choice of sport.

Personally, I think the Olympics was created to test people’s strengths and their limits. If not, how do we explain all the energy that goes into training just to excel at a sport?.

• Passion: 

Without this flame of fire known as passion, you’ll soon get weary just a few years into the Olympics, especially if you’re not getting the desired results.

Dedicating almost half of your time to intense training with very little reward is not something that happens regularly.

Without the passion, becoming an athlete will soon become a thing of the past even if every other thing was put into place.

So, the question now is, “are you passionate about the Olympics?”.

• Choose a sport:

In a more professional phrase in the business space, choosing a sport is the same as carving a niche. There are many sports in the Olympics from which you can choose from.

The list is quite lengthy and this post may not cover them up but the following are some of them: Gymnastics, Swimming, Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, etc.

According to Wikipedia, there are about 32 sports that consist of Olympic programs.

Check below for the highest-paid Olympic athletes even before choosing a sport.

• Coaching:

After going through the hurdle of rigorous training, etc, it is important to find a coach who’ll fan the flames into the fire and turn you into a successful athlete.

Finding a coach might be hard, paying them what they’re really worth might be harder, which brings us to the next step.

• Join local directories:

This way, you can get to join a team and get coaching sessions from there. Another quick way is to simply find a local team to join, that’s if you do not want to go through the hurdle of joining local directories.

• Practice:

Practice sounds like more training as there’s really no difference. 

If you have heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”, then you’ll consider putting more effort into practising and more practice till you become what you want.

If you meet successful Olympians, most of them are quick to say that constant practice is the secret to their success.

• Participate in competitions:

Competitions are an opportunity for you to showcase your talents as an athlete. Therefore, you should embrace the idea of participating in competitions as often as you can.

• Work hard:

There’s no better way to say this. Hard work will determine a lot of things in your career as an Olympic athlete. You need to put in the work required.

Since the paycheck is not definite for most of these athletes, who then is the richest Olympic athlete?.

Who is the richest Olympic athlete?.

According to scmp.com, Ion Tiriac is the richest Olympic athlete in the world with a $2B net worth. Ion Tiriac is a Romanian tennis player who has steadily made a name for himself in the industry.

Besides playing tennis, he’s also a businessman who owns a private bank with other investments in Sigho, which contributed to making him a billionaire. Ion is the first Romanian who made it to the Forbes list in 2007.

While I was researching for this blog post, one thing that crossed my mind is “Are their guys who make it big in this industry?. Who are they?”

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Who are the highest paid Olympic athletes?

Maybe you also have the same question on your mind. And in a matter of seconds, I’ll be answering it below.

Who are the 15 highest paid Olympic athletes in the world?. 

  • Novak Djokovic.
  • Jrue Holiday.
  • Naomi Osaka.
  • Kevin Durant.
  • Rory Mcllroy.
  • Kei Nishikori.
  • Jennifer Gates.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • Christiano Ronaldo.
  • Roger Federer.
  • Michelle Kwan.
  • Usain Bolt.
  • Serena Williams.
  • Michael Phelps.
  • Lionel Messi.

1. Novak Djokovic:

Coming on the list in no particular order is the renowned tennis player, Novak Djokovic.

The Olympic star has taken home $30M in the last 12 months as an Olympic athlete as well as a brand ambassador for companies such as Peugeot, NeoJets to mention but a few.

2. Jrue Holiday:

The athlete is a 31-year-old basketballer who started making waves in his career exactly 11 years after he started.

He got his first big break as a representative from the USA to Tokyo. Ever since, Jrue has started signing endorsement deals, thereby building his portfolio as an athlete. Jrue is currently worth about $130M.

3. Naomi Osaka:

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese who has been recognized by Forbes as the top highest-paid athlete in 2022.

Beating Serena Williams to her game, Naomi has been regarded as the face of tennis for the female category.

Her total earnings in prize money have been estimated to $5M in the last 12 months. However, Naomi is currently worth $60M which is due to her endorsement with brands.

She is on of the highest paid Olympic athletes.

Read: Top 15 Highest Paid Sports Teams In 2022

4. Kevin Durant:

The 32-year-old medalist is a basketballer who earns a whopping salary of $42M annually. That’s pretty much a huge amount of money, especially since being a gold medalist seems like an easy task.

Kevin has also been lucky to have other investments (a venture capitalist firm) which also contribute to his earnings.

5. Rory Mcllroy:

Mcllroy was the winner of the 2019 FedEx cup and was given a prize of $15M and also named the next big thing in the industry.

The golf player was born in Northern Ireland and has continued to represent his country at the Olympics alongside making some cool cash.

Thanks to partnerships with brands, Mcllroy’s net worth continues to grow.

6. Kei Nishikori:

Kei came into the limelight in 2016 after he became a bronze medalist which was the first for Japan in 96 years. (That’s really huge). He has since then secured a spot in the heart of tennis’ fans.

The annual prize money Nishikori receives is about $24,409,189 annually.

7. Jennifer Gates:

Besides being the child of Melinda and Bill Gates, Jennifer is a horse rider with a net worth of $20M in her name.

8. Michael Jordan:

Michael Jordan is regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time. He is a businessman who owns Charlotte Hornets and has also created the Air Jordan sneakers for Nike.

Although retired, Michael Jordan earned about $90M during his time as an athlete and sold over $1.2B from his other businesses which makes him one of the highest-paid Olympic athletes in the present day.

9. Christiano Ronaldo:

Known as a soccer god, Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer. He has won 32 trophies in his career making him one of the most skilled footballers ever.

Outside football, the athlete has signed many sponsorship deals for companies like Nike, FIFA, etc.

Ronaldo’s combined wealth from football, sponsorship deals, and personal business makes him worth about $963M which has put him on the Forbes list as one of the highest-paid Olympic athletes.

10. Roger Federer:

Federer is a professional tennis player. He is ranked as the second all-time leader in earnings with $130,594,339. He is known to be among the “big three”, a name Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Federer was commonly called.

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This is because all three dominated men’s tennis and won major games. Federer is worth $450M.

11. Michelle Kwan:

Michelle is a decorated figure skater in the US. Before her retirement in 2006, she was a two-time Olympic medalist, a five-time world champion, and a nine-time US champion. In 2017, Kwan was inducted into the California Sports Hall of Fame.

Kwan is currently worth $12M and is considered one of the highest-paid Olympic athletes in the world.

12. Usain Bolt:

Also retired, Bolt is a sprinter, the first and only to win Olympics 100m and 200m titles. (2008,2012,2016).

He is an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, an eleven-time world champion, and a record-breaker.

Bolt’s wealth continues to increase with several sponsorship deals and his prize earnings as an athlete.

He is known as one of the world’s highest-paid Olympic athletes with a net worth of $90M.

13. Serena Williams:

Serena Williams is an American professional tennis player with prize money of $94,518,971.

She is currently ranking 16th world best player in women’s tennis. Serena is highly respected for the grand slam titles accorded to her.

Besides the prize money, she has also signed lots of endorsement deals to her name. In 2021, Forbes ranked her as 28th on Forbes world’s highest-paid Olympic athletes list.

Her net worth is about $210M.

14. Michael Phelps:

Phelps is an American competitive swimmer with 28 medals during his career.

Phelps retired in 2016 but is still one of the highest-paid Olympian with a net worth of $80M, several endorsement deals, and the Michael Phelps’ foundation to his name.

15. Lionel Messi: 

Messi is an Argentinian professional football player and inarguably the most successful athlete of all time. In 2020, Messi was named the second team sport athlete to surpass $1B in career earnings which made him one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

Read also: highest-paid sports-players 

FAQs about the highest paid Olympic athletes in 2022.

Why are the Olympics so important?.

The importance of the Olympics can be found in the values that the Games seek to promote. These values include equality, respect, courage, excellence, friendship, inspiration, and determination.

What is the motto of the Olympics?.

The motto for the Olympics is “faster, higher, stronger- together”.

Who is the youngest Olympian?.

The youngest person to partake in this year’s Olympics is Hena Zaza, who is a table tennis player.

What are some of the barriers to becoming an Olympian?.

Restriction in movement due to the pandemic.
War, security, and political issues.

How are sports chosen for the Olympics?.

The Olympic charter shows that in order to be accepted, men must widely practise a sport in at least 75 countries and on four continents and by women in forty countries and on three continents.

What is the hardest sport in the Olympics?.

This question is usually up for an unending debate, however, sports experts have identified water polo as one of the hardest summer Olympic sports.

Read also: most dangerous sports


Nothing should stop a person from achieving their dreams. If becoming an Olympic athlete is your dream, then pursue it. These are the highest-paid Olympic athletes.

If you have other questions, you think I should answer which were not written down, kindly drop a comment.




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