The highest-paid Olympians of 2021: Trying To The Gold


Millions of viewers. The moral backing of nations. There are weeks of praise from various media outlets across the globe. Olympic fame is a thrilling wish for all athletes who make it, but very few have it to do so for financial gain, and it’s not a quick way to become rich.( )

The cost of training, facility time, and the latest equipment that could cost several thousand dollars could turn the opportunity to be a part of the world stage into a cash pit. In some cases, attending the Olympics is so expensive that they resort to GoFundMe campaigns to pay for their expenses. In 2016, thousands of people gave $750,000 to support the journeys of over 140 athletes. The winnings also help offset some of the costs for every U.S. gold medalist bringing home $37,500, the silver medalists taking home $22,500, and bronze medalists $15,000. But most fall short.

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Some champions are supported by lucrative endorsement contracts, such as the two back Olympians, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky, and are in the position of securing more winning, the most likely way to depart Tokyo in the summer of 2012 with a cash-flow is to be able to walk away with one. Due to a decision made years ago, which allows professional athletes to take part in the Olympics, the next Games will again feature struggling hopefuls and the top athletes in the world.

One of the highest-earning players scheduled to attend Tokyo, including three professional tennis players along with a golfer as well as five NBA players (two less than last week’s due to injuries and Covid-19 protocols currently requiring two players from Team USA to drop out, and there’s a chance that the NBA finals, presently being played out, could cause a few players to be eliminated before the Games begin).

Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant, who already owns 2 Olympic gold medals and has had his investments off the court, challenges his illustrious play on the court. Durant, a double-time NBA winner, is also the league’s most recent media businessman with a breakout media network boardroom and an investment in The MLS’s Philadelphia Union and his own venture capital company, Thirty-Five Ventures.

Durant is now the captain of Team USA without LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, who last participated in the Olympics in 2012. Durant will be making his third Olympic appearance all in all. He hopes to guide Team USA to a fourth consecutive gold medal, with many first-time Olympians on the team.

For the second year in a row, Naomi Osaka has shattered the earnings records for female tennis players. She has surpassed the record-setting top earner, Serena Williams, and former record-holder Maria Sharapova. The 23-year-old–regarded as the new face of tennis–earned $55 million in endorsements and $5 million in prize money in 12 months. More than twenty endorsement partnerships include newcomers like Google, Louis Vuitton, Workday, and Levi’s — Osaka is ranked at No. twelve on Forbes’ highest-paid athlete‘s list for 2021. Williams is finishing at No. 28. She is a four-time Grand Slam champion who clinched her first Barbie collaboration this year as an integral part of the company’s Role Model doll line, which is currently being sold out due to huge demand.

Portland Trailblazers point guard and six-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard has shown the world of sports that he’s not only a skilled scorer but also a market attraction. Damian Lillard, 31, has earned endorsement agreements that include Adidas, Gatorade, Hulu, and 2K Sports. in 2014, Lillard has negotiated an extension of a ten-year deal with Adidas worth 100 million for his most popular shoe brand, Dame. Lillard is also known under his rap name Dame D.O.L.L.A (Different On levels that the Lord permits) and is the producer of three albums through FrontPage Music label. The first-ever Olympian is also featured on the Space Jam: A New Legacy soundtrack and in the film (playing the character in the role of Chronos).

The world’s most highly-ranked player is the only player in the men’s tennis’ Big Three set to appear in the Tokyo Olympics after the recent withdrawals of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Novak Djokovic kept tennis fans at the top of their seats in July by winning his Wimbledon comeback win over Matteo Berrettini, drawing his record to match Federer in the race with Federer and Nadal in terms of the number of several career Grand Slam wins with 20–a tie that he intends to break with an entire calendar year Grand Slam at the U.S. Open in September. Tennis’s most prize-winning player of all time was awarded $2.4 million of prize cash following his Wimbledon victory, adding to an already impressive income total. The 34-year-old Serbian tennis star earned $30 million in his winnings from the court through endorsement agreements with companies such as Lacoste, Peugeot, NetJets, and Austrian tennis equipment manufacturer Head.

Rory McIlroy, regarded as one of the top golfers along with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, is now one of golf’s most popular players, as well. The 32-year-old earned $29.9 million from the course in just 12 months while partnering with Nike, Omega, and UnitedHealth Group. McIlroy’s biggest on-course win up to this point was his prize of $15 million for taking home the 2018 FedEx Cup. He also made a splash in the year following his creation of GolfPass and NBCSports, a digital monthly subscription service that costs $10 and comes that includes exclusive coaching from McIlroy himself. 

The aspiring NBA star Devin Booker has taken the world of basketball to the forefront, launching the Phoenix Suns to the league’s highest ranks with the help of an energized Chris Paul. But Booker’s first finals run could end his Olympics goals. If the NBA finals were to be seven games on July 22nd, it would present him with a dilemma between resting and prolonging an already long season. The 24-year-old showman who has been compared to legendary Kobe Bryant became the highest-paid player in Suns history when he signed the five-year $158 million contract in 2018. Two-time NBA All-Star earns $7 million off the court, and his sponsors are Nike and Call of Duty.

In the Rio Olympics in 2016, Kei Nishikori took home the bronze medal, handing Japan its first tennis championship in more than 96 years (a drought that’s not the way it seems since the sport was removed from the Olympic program in 1924 and wasn’t reinstated in 1988). Another one followed the achievement during the 2013 U.S. Open, where Kei Nishikori became only the second Asian player to reach a men’s Grand Slam final. The 31-year old earns $30 million from endorsements with companies like Japan Airlines, Lixil, and Nissin, all of which are recognized as official Olympic partners. In his home country of Japan, Nishikori should be one of the leading players in Tokyo. Tokyo Games.

Similar to his NBA finals counterpart Devin Booker, Milwaukee Bucks swingman Khris Middleton has stated that he plans to participate in the Olympics and is included on the roster of Team USA. However, Middleton’s status may change should the NBA finals be extended by seven more games, with the finals to be played on the 22nd of July, just one day before the opening ceremony in Tokyo. Middleton signed a new contract for the Bucks in 2019 with a five-year, $178 million contract following his confirmation as the team’s number. second option after Giannis Antetokounmpo. The 29-year-old, two-time NBA All-Star has partnerships with Nike, Verizon, Panini, and Unilever; however, he earns the majority of his earnings in the arena.

Twelve decades after their NBA career started, Jrue Holiday is set to be a part of Team USA for the first time in Tokyo. The only obstacle against him would be his participation in the Bucks’ NBA finals battle against the Suns. The 31-year-old guard boasts an endorsement portfolio of $2 million, which includes contracts that include Nike, Microsoft, ONYX, Momentous, Amp, and Panini. He signed a contract extension to remain in Milwaukee in the spring of this year to sign an extension of four years worth at least $134 million.


To create the list, Forbes recorded the income earned between May 1, 2010, and May 1, 2021, based on interviews with insiders in the industry. The figures for earnings that are rounded by half comprise the on-the-field income (from the payment of prizes, wages, and bonuses) and off-the-field revenue (from sponsorships or appearance fees, as well as licensing agreements). The numbers for the NBA include a 20 percent cut in base salary to accommodate the pandemic escrow adjustment that the league has made to the current year.


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