Gymnastics is one of the most difficult sports in the world. Thirty hours of training are required every week. They train endlessly to maintain their bodies and performance. Their careers will possibly end if they get out of shape.
Gymnastics is one of the few sports that have the shortest span of a career. But some gymnasts are lucky enough to have earned a lot of money during their heydays and after their retirement. Here are the 10 highest paid gymnasts.
10 Kyle Keith Shewfelt
Shewfelt is a gymnast from Canada. He attained a gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004. This was deemed a historical breakthrough since it was the first medal ever by a Canadian artistic gymnast and it was a gold medal. A vault maneuver was even named after him. He almost qualified for another medal, but he didn’t receive it because of controversy during judging.
During training in 2007 for the World Championships, both his legs were injured due to a faulty landing. He went through surgery and was under rehabilitation for months. But after just 11 months, he was back in the game earning him the respect of young gymnasts in Canada and all over the world. He now owns a gymnastics club in Calgary.
9 Alexandra Rose Raisman
As early as age 10, she started training under Mihai and Sylvie Brestyanat at a gymnastics club in Massachusetts. At the age of 14, she began competing and won at the American classic, junior vault category. In the same year, she was the 12th placer over-all in the CoverGirl Classic junior competition in 2009. Raisman together with her teammates became known as the “Fierce Five” taking home a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. In the 2016 Olympics, she won again with her teammates Kocian, Hernandez, Biles and Douglas making them the third American women’s team to win gold. They were called the “Final Five” because it would be the last time the Olympics allowed a five-person team.
8 Simone Arianne Biles
Biles is an artistic gymnast from America. She is outstanding in executing difficult movements. She won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which put her winnings from the Olympics 2016 at $110,000. She is considered the greatest gymnast in history. She is the first African-American and first woman to win an all-around title. She is the most decorated American gymnast with 20 medals, all in all, setting the record of most World Championship Medals by a female gymnast. She was given the sports ‘Favorite Newcomer Award’ by Nickelodeon in 2016 and was named ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ by Women’s Sports Foundation in 2014. Most of her earnings come from endorsements. She has partnered with Kellogg’s, Nike and Hershey’s. She was also featured in Sports Illustrated in 2017.
7 Anastasia Valeryevna"Nastia" Liukin
Liukin is an American Russian former gymnast. Her extraordinary skills are genetic since her parents were prominent gymnasts in the Soviet Union. She was skill-qualified but not age-eligible for the 2004 US Olympic Team, but in 2005, she won her first national senior title. She is the 2008 Olympic all-around champion. She was a five-time medalist and the third American female to win an all-around gold medal. She was the United States’ representative for one Olympic game and three World Championships. She made a comeback in 2012 but failed many trials which led her to early retirement. She has signed endorsements for Cover Girl and Subway. She has a clothing line at J.C. Penney, Supergirl by Nastia.
6 Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas
Douglas is an artistic gymnast from America. She is the very first African to win individual all-around champion in the history of the Olympics. She started training at age 6. At age 14, she moved to Iowa and lived with a host family to start formal training with Liang Chow.
Her ability to reach extraordinary heights from the apparatus earned her the nickname “Flying Squirrel,” which was coined by Martha Karolyi, U.S. Team Coordinator. She has a Lifetime biopic film entitled The Gabby Douglas Story and a reality television show called Douglas Family Gold. Some notable books she has written are Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith (2012), and Raising the Bar (2013).
5 Bart Conner
Conner is a retired Olympic gymnast from America. He won two gold medals at the Summer Olympic Games 1984. In the same year, he made an extraordinary move during the Men’s parallel bars which was later called the “Conner Spin” by gymnasts. He now owns Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy with his better half, a retired Romania gymnast whose name you may recognize: Nadia Comaneci. He works for gymnastic events on television as a commentator and is also the editor of International Gymnast Magazine. He serves as the vice-chairman of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors and he has been initiated into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
4 Mary Lou Retton
Retton is a retired gymnast from America. Her gold medal was a noteworthy win because Retton was the first-ever American female to win the all-around gold medal in the Olympics at that time. She missed the 1983 World Championships due to an injured wrist. In 1984 her knee was injured during training and she had surgery just 5 weeks before the 1984 Summer Olympics but managed to recover enough to bag the all-around gold medal beating Szabo in just 0.05 points. She won her 3rd American cup in 1985 before retiring in 1986. She was in TV commercials in the late ‘80s to early ‘90s for Energizer, McDonald’s, Wheaties, BPA Bowling, Dairy Queen, and Revco. She was the face of Wheaties and was their spokesperson.
3 Alicia Marie Sacramone Quinn
Sacramone is another retired artistic gymnast from America. She won 10 medals in World Championships, making her the 3rd most decorated American in gymnastics history. Her inconsistent performances caused her to miss out on an opportunity to be a part of the Athens team in 2004. In 2005, she came back strong winning bronze in vault and gold in floor exercises in the world championships. She retired in 2009 but attempted to make a comeback and unfortunately wasn’t chosen for the Olympic Team in 2012. She has appeared in a Gatorade commercial. She was the first athlete spokeswoman for CoverGirl together with Nastia Liukin. She is also the spokesperson of Team 24 Fitness. She is now married to NFL quarterback, Brady Quinn.
2 Shannon Lee Miller
Miller is yet another American artistic gymnast retiree. She was a member of the Magnificent Seven Team in the 1996 Olympics. She is the most decorated American gymnast with seven medals at the Olympic games. She garnered 16 Olympic and World Championship medals in all. She is now the second-most decorated American gymnast, with Simone Biles having recently taken over her crown. She is an ovarian cancer survivor. This has inspired her to put up a website and host weekly radio shows. She tackles motherhood, fitness, and health. She has also launched a series of books about a healthy lifestyle. She is a professional corporate speaker and the president of the Shannon Miller Foundation. She has a lot of board affiliations to various foundations across the country.
1 Nadia Elena Comăneci
Comăneci is a retired gymnast from Romania. She is the first gymnast to ever be given a perfect score of 10.0 in the 1976 Olympic Games. She won a total of five gold medals and seven perfect 10 scores at the Olympics. The Laureus World Sports Academy recognized her as one of the Athletes of the 21st Century. She is now married to American Olympic Gold medalist, Bart Conner. She was deemed a National Hero in Romania with the title “Hero of Socialist Labor” and was given the “Hammer and Sickle” by the Romania president at that time, Nicolae Ceausescu. She and her husband are now members of the Board of Directors of the Special Olympics.