Sports
December 7, 2016

Competitor earnings

In 1971 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed the “amateur status” requirement for Olympic participation to allow athletes who receive sponsorships and endorsement deals to participate, i.e., professional racers could take part. However, it was 1978 before the Ted Stevens Act enabled the adoption of the IOC rule to apply to U.S. Alpine competitors.
According to Christine Feehan’s May 2015 Ski Racing article (Feehan once coached at Killington), ski racing prize money lags such sports as cricket, bullriding and payouts for jockeys, and almost equals that of professional dart players. It beats out surfing and bowling prize money but is a far cry from what tennis champs like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova take home annually. The 2014-15-season prize money saw $340,000 for Lindsey Vonn and $321,650 for Shiffren.
According to the FIS website, top 2015-16 winnings after all 40 races were Vonn ($430,00+), Gut ($380,000+), Shiffren ($230,650), and Viktoria Rebensburg ($228,000+). That was with Vonn and Schiffen not competing in all races due to injuries.
After the Killington races, Shiffren leads with 165,000 CHF (Swiss francs, which is slightly more in American dollars); Tessa Worley (French GS winner) has 94,000; and Nina Loeseth (Norway, 2nd place GS) 57,000 while 32nd place Resi Stiegler (U.S., 17th Slalom) has 3,500 CHF. (Vonn is currently out with a broken arm suffered in training.)
There is no prize money for athletes in the Olympics. However, the five richest American Olympians at Sochi 2014 Winter Games according to Bankrate.com estimates were: Shaun White with net worth of $20 million from endorsements and majority share of the Air and Style Snowboard Competition; Bode Miller at $8 million from endorsement deals; Ted Ligety, $2 million from winnings, endorsement deals, and his share of Shred Optics (goggles, sunglasses, helmet company he founded); Hannah Teter, $1 million from sponsors and Sweet Cheeks (her underwear line); and Lindsay Jacobellis, $1 million from sponsorships and endorsements.
Lindsey Vonn didn’t compete at Sochi due to injuries, but reports show a net worth of around $3 million at that time while more recent reports (2013) indicate $25 million. Other recent reports show Vonn’s annual income around $5-$6 million a year from endorsement deals, sponsorships, and winnings.

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