How much money does the average professional track and field athlete make?
There are elite, and national class professionals. Some are represented by agents and others are rep'd by their nation's sporting body and that nation might control the athlete's earnings.
When one considers what an athlete may get paid with shoe & apparel contracts, appearance fees (for competing), prize money, and endorsement deals, this can easily grow into the millions, especially if the athlete either wins Olympic gold medals or sets WRs.
In 2004, (most up to date info available) the top grossing track athletes (prize money only) were:
1. Christian Olsson, SWE $644,660
2. Kenenisa Bekele, ETH $162,922
3. Allen Johnson, USA $145,740
4. Bernard Lagat, KEN $137,270
5. Asafa Powell, JAM $129,820
6. Saif Saaeed Shaheen, QAT $129,542
7. Ivan Heshko, UKR $125,876
8. Paul Korir, KEN $122,800
9. Wilfred Bungei, KEN $105,216
10. Felix Sánchez, DOM $97,720
1. Tonique Williams-Darling, BAH $571,950
2. Yelena Isinbayeva, RUS $374,250
3. Tatyana Lebedeva, RUS $210,306
4. Hestrie Cloete, RSA $173,545
5. Yelena Slesarenko, RUS $136,040
6. Kelly Holmes, GBR $125,812
7. Debbie Ferguson, BAH $117,054
8. Aleen Bailey, JAM $113,330
9. Elvan Abeylegesse, TUR $111,150
10. Perdita Felicien, CAN $106,070
In some years, athletes have exceed $1,000,000 in prize money alone. As I mentioned before, In certain cases, athletes are paid an appearance fee in lieu of potential prize money, while in some cases, they receive both. Those instances are not generally reported, but as an example, Paula Radcliffe received $500,000 (£272,000) to run the New York City Marathon. And American Silver medalist sprinter Lauryn Williams stands to earn $250,000 or more per year from Nike. That's before she gets into appearance fees at track meets, likely to run $15,000-$20,000 apiece, with European organizers offering the higher end. She got $15,000 from the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 100 silver in 2004.
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