Olympic athletes are not exactly paid to play the sport they love. After all, serving and representing the country in one of the most premier sporting arenas in the whole world is enough recognition for these Olympians. As a matter of fact, it is through these games and championships which these Olympic superstars managed to rise to fame even more.
However, it doesn’t hurt that these individuals have amassed their own wealth over time. From brand partnerships and sponsorships, to simply winning games, these Olympians stood on top of their game. Whether it is on the tennis court or in basketball stadiums, there’s no denying that most people on this list have built their careers in the field of sports – and they have the bank accounts and net worth to prove it.
Though the Olympics may not pay athletes handsomely enough to retire, this list shows you how these hardworking sports icons have worked for success even after their Olympic stint. These athletes have achieved a majority of their wealth outside their Olympic appearances, with most attributing their wealth to entrepreneurial endeavors. Take a look at the richest Olympians of all time below.
10. Shaquille O’Neal
Net Worth: $400 million
Shaq O’Neal was part of the U.S. Team to win the gold medal in the 1996 Olympics. At the time, O’Neal was just planning to join the Los Angeles Lakers, where he made history as the team won the NBA championship for three years in a row. He later went on to sign with Miami Heat for a five-year contract.
After retiring from the NBA, one would expect that Shaq lost his income. That couldn’t be more wrong. Today, he still earns around $60 million per year thanks to his numerous endorsement deals and investments. He has also signed on as a board member for Papa Johns, the popular pizza chain. His combined earnings make him one of the world’s highest-paid retired athletes.
9. Roger Federer
Net Worth: $450 million
Representing Switzerland in four Olympic games and having 20 Grand Slam titles, Roger Federer is touted as the most successful male tennis player in history. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Federer won gold alongside his doubles partner, Stan Wawrinka, and garnered a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
His total career earnings outside of endorsements are $124 million. Meanwhile, his partnerships with Uniqlo, Credit Suisse, Rolex, and Mercedes Benz allow him to make roughly $60 million a year. Federer’s numerous endorsements are considerably larger than any other athlete.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo
Net Worth: $460 million
Undoubtedly one of the highest-paid and most successful soccer players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo’s skills on the field are definitely worth a lot of green. His prowess was not left unnoticed, having represented Portugal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Today, Ronaldo plays for Spain’s Real Madrid club and the national team of Portugal.
His sporting involvement earns him roughly $64 million per year, with an additional $40 million from his endorsements. One of the biggest deals he closed was with Nike, a lifetime deal worth $1 billion. According to Standard Insider, Ronaldo also runs his own lifestyle brand called CR7, selling perfume, underwear, and many more.
7. LeBron James
Net Worth: $480 million
King James’ beginnings were anything but humble. From a 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece at just 19 years old for which the team won bronze, there’s no stopping this icon on the court. Just recently, Lebron James was named a finalist for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team.
Besides his basketball involvement, James earns from his sponsorship deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, McDonald’s and even Samsung. Apart from previously endorsing Beats by Dre, James also owned 1% of the company.
6. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Net Worth: $505 million
Recognized for his strength and mobility in the boxing arena, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. went on to fight early in his career in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. During his short stint, the boxer won a bronze medal. Many say he was robbed during this controversial match.
Throughout his career in boxing, Floyd has won six boxing championships across different weight classes. Although having succeeded in his fights, it’s surprising to note that most of his earnings still come solely from his salary per fight, which averages $300 million per match.
5. Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson
Net Worth: $600 million
Another basketball icon that made it on the list is Magic Johnson who participated in – and won – the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Part of the so-called Dream Team, Johnson led the team to victory alongside other legends such as Michael Jordan.
Though Johnson earned approximately $18 million throughout his playing career, he made quite a splash when he built his own business called Magic Johnson Enterprises, which owns movie studios. In the past, he also owned 5% of shares from the Lakers club as well as a Starbucks chain.
4. Anna Kasprzak
Net Worth: $1 billion
A dressage rider, Anna Kasprzak is not new to the Olympics. In fact, Business Insider states that she has joined a total of 12 Olympic games. In the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, she placed 14th. Though she has yet to get a medal in the Olympics, Kasprzak has had other successes in other tournaments. She also runs her own private dressage barn in Haderslev, Denmark.
While Kasprzak is an heiress to the ECCO shoe brand and empire, she is nonetheless granted a fortune from her partial ownership of the brand. Much of her inheritance and wealth today is attributed to ECCO and her family business, making her part of the top eight billionaires under 30.
3. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss Combined
Net Worth: $1.45 billion
The Winklevoss twins might be popular thanks to the film, The Social Network. However, the two are also renowned for their rowing skills, as seen in the film as well. Both went on to participate in the 2007 Summer Games in Beijing.
Today, however, the Winklevoss brothers are more recognized for their investments in Bitcoin, giving Cameron and Tyler a combined $1.45 billion in assets. At the start of 2019, their worth was only $654 million, but thanks to Bitcoin and other crypto-assets which recently soared,their wealth significantly rose as well.
2. Michael Jordan
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures in history is Michael Jordan. The legendary figure remains one of the greats even today – from securing two gold medals in the Olympics to creating the Air Jordan brand with Nike, it seems that there is no stopping MJ even after his retirement.
Throughout his six-title wins with the Chicago Bulls and his whole basketball career, MJ scored $90 million in salaries. However, his investments and partnerships with the Charlotte Hornets, Nike, Hanes, Gatorade, and more allowed him to become the billionaire that he is today. He owes this to the boost in franchise value of the Hornets in 2014, where he owns 97% of the equity.
1. Ion Tiriac
Net Worth: $2 billion
Standing at the number one spot is Ion Tiriac, former Romanian ice hockey player who represented the country at the 1964 Winter Olympics. After his stint in ice hockey, Tiriac moved one to become one of the best tennis players of the 1970s.
Making history in 2007, Celebrity Net Worth says Tiriac was the first-ever Romanian who made it to Forbes List of billionaires in 2007. Today, Tiriac owns a myriad of companies and businesses, including insurance companies, car dealerships, and he dabbles in petroleum distribution. He also owns a museum that features his very own high-end cars.
If you’re an athlete interested in making a name for yourself, you can get your inspiration from these accomplished Olympians. They are not only successful in their respective sporting arenas, but they have also proven themselves successful in their financial pursuits.
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