The Olympic Games are every athlete's dream. However, not everyone has the means to participate in them: the work of high-quality trainers and technological equipment is an expensive pleasure. Part of the cost covers payments for Olympic medals, but only partly, so athletes are forced to look for sponsors to get into the ranks of the Olympians. However, all this does not apply to sports stars - the latter do not experience a deficit in advertising contracts, and they do not go to the Olympics for the sake of earning money.
Forbes magazine has calculated which of the Olympians gathering this week in Tokyo, the highest paid. Among the millionaire athletes were tennis, golfer and basketball players playing in the NBA. Together, they earned $ 353 million last year.
Number one is 32-year-old US basketball player Kevin Durant, who already has Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016. Durant's income last year was about $ 75 million, and he received it not so much as an athlete, but as a businessman: the basketball player owns his own venture capital company and media network.
Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka breaks the record for earnings among athletes for the second year in a row: Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are long gone. The 23-year-old star has earned $ 55 million in ad contracts and $ 5 million in prize money. Osaka has over two dozen sponsors including Google, Louis Vuitton, Workday, Levi's and Barbie - this year the toy maker launched the Naomi doll that sold out instantly.
Another member of the US basketball team, six-time NBA champion Damian Lillard, earned $ 40.5 million in 2020. The player has signed advertising contracts with Gatorade, Hulu, 2K Sports and Adidas (with the latter he has a ten-year contract worth $ 100 million). Lillard also acts as rap singer Dame DOLL A - he has already released three studio albums under his own label, Front Page Music.
The fourth is Serb Novak Djokovic. World No. 1 is the only member of the Big Three in men's tennis to compete in the Olympics: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will not appear in Tokyo. Djokovic received $ 2.4 million just for the victory at Wimbledon, in the amount of his last year's income is 34.5 million. Of this, $ 30 million was earned off court - thanks to advertising deals with Lacoste, Peugeot, NetJets and the Austrian tennis equipment manufacturer Head.
The fifth most expensive is Briton Rory McIlroy, who is considered one of the biggest golfers along with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. He earned $ 32 million in 2020. He earned $ 29 million of this amount through partnerships with brands such as Nike, Omega and UnitedHealth Group. McIlroy also makes money thanks to the GolfPass service: for $ 10 a month, the star gives lessons to golf lovers.
Among the highest paid athletes is also the American basketball player Devin Booker, who has been compared to the late Kobe Bryant ($ 30.5 million); Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori ($ 30.5 million), who in 2014, at the US Open, became the first Asian player in history to qualify for the men's Grand Slam final; American basketball player Chris Middleton ($ 27 million) and American basketball player Jrue Holiday ($ 23 million).
In compiling its list, Forbes tracked revenue generated between May 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021, based on conversations with industry insiders. Revenue figures, rounded to the nearest half a million, include both on-field (from prize money, salaries and bonuses) and off-field (from sponsorships, performance fees and licensing deals).