An e-mail came from a politician asking for money. That’s not unusual as politicians of all stripes run perpetual campaigns and always need money. But this one was different and it also underscored what it takes to be an Olympic Athletic. Mount Vernon, New York Mayor Richard Thomas has started a GoFundMe drive to make sure one American Olympian from his city will have her family with her to see her perform in Rio. Deajah Stevens will be running the 200-meter dash and her expenses getting to Brazil along with her stay in the Olympic village will be taken care of by the United States Olympic Committee. After that, it is up to Stevens to find cash for her family to watch her and probably find a job or two to support her training. The people who run the Olympics from the International Olympic Committee to individual national sports federations take care of their own, the delegates, and really don’t do all that much for the athletes and their families. After all, athletes come and go.
The Washington Post laid out an overview of the ranchers as the owners and the athletes as the cattle earlier this week and showed in some cases, actually many cases, IOC delegates get paid more money to watch their product, the Olympics, than the actual performers get. US athletes get some money for performing but not all that much. There are bonuses; a gold medal winner gets $25,000, a silver medalist, $15,000 and a bronze finisher ends up with $10,000. The United States Olympic Basketball Team has no financial problems and it is doubtful that Serena Williams is going to complain about money competing for a gold medal in tennis. But most athletes beg for money from friends, strangers and set up GoFundMe mechanisms to be an Olympian. Olympic executives don’t want to share in their money.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.