London 2012′s Richest and Poorest Olympians

Think winning gold at the Olympics means winning gold financially? Think again.

The unfortunate reality is that many Olympic stars must overcome serious financial struggles just to make it to the games. In fact, according to, athletes need to be one of the top ten athletes in their sports—and hold onto that spot—before rolling in the endorsement dollars.

The site calculates that while the worlds’ best and most famous athletes might make some serious cash, the drop-off happens quickly. Take sprinters: While a few well-known names may rake in $400,000 or more in a year and top ten athletes generally make between $75,000 and $200,000, drop below the top ten and you’re in the $10,000-$75,000 range … below that, $0-$25K.

On the flip side, the world’s most celebrated athletes do make millions—so much so that Michael Phelps, with his pre-London net worth of $40 million, didn’t even make our "rich list."

Read on for some of the richest and poorest athletes you're watching this year.

To view the slides in one long list, click into the show and select "list view."

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  • Kcheme

    What about all the athletes from developing countries?  I am willing to bet that their upbringings are even more modest than the poorest of the American and European athletes. This article seems biased towards the western, developed world.  

    • Probably because there isn’t much information available about athletes from developing worlds.