The financial well-being of most Winter Olympic athletes pales in comparison with professional athletes like those NHL players that make up Team USA’s roster. However, thanks to endorsement deals, business investments, speaking events and cash prizes, they pull in a pretty penny too.
American’s skiing sweetheart Lindsey Vonn has a net worth of $3 million. Her sponsors include Red Bull, Rolex and Under Armour just to name a few. While most of her earnings comes from endorsements, she's packed away $350,000 in prize money too. Although she was supposed to be NBC’s face of the Olympics, she will be sitting out due to a knee injury. (Maybe boyfriend Tiger Woods, who’s worth $500 million, can give her some tips for boosting sponsorships despite the setback.)
Also absent from this year’s Olympics is the recently retired Apolo Ohno. The eight-time Winter Olympic gold medalist has a net worth of $9 million. The speed skater not only scored himself endorsement deals, but also took advantage of other money-making opportunities – including appearing on the TV show Dancing with the Stars.
With so much potential to cash in on their Olympic success, we’ve compiled a list of the richest American athletes (excluding the NHLers making up Team USA) slated to make it to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
6 Gretchen Bleiler - Snowboarder - Net Worth: $1 million
After a devastating and freak accident while practicing in 2012 at the US Ski and Snowboard Association’s Center of Excellence, Gretchen Bleiler had to fight to get better and back on her board. It was a rough year and half for Bleiler, but now she’s competing for a spot at Sochi. Her strength and perseverance give her Go Pro Workouts Series even more clout (she charges $100 for one training program).
Bleiler has appeared in many magazines including Fitness, Shape and the ESPN Body Issue. The snowboarder also nabbed major sponsors including Kelloggs, Coca-Cola and AT&T. She also cashed in when she designed her own speciality apparel line for Oakley.
5 Lindsey Jacobellis - Snowboarder - Net Worth: $1 million
Lindsey Jacobellis is hoping the third time's the charm at the 2014 Winter Olympics. The snowboarder picked up the silver medal, narrowly missing gold due to her famous self-congratulatory gaffe in 2006, and tumbled to an automatic disqualification in 2010. She’s currently competing to make the US snowboarding team, and building momentum in the meantime. Despite Jacobellis’ broken thumb, she managed to qualify for the US Olympic team.
Although her Olympic career has been less than impressive, her gold medals at the World Championships and the Winter X Games have given her the credibility needed to bank some big sponsors like Sprint, as well as appearing in commercials for Visa and Dunkin Donuts. The blonde boarder also nabbed a deal with professional hair care line Paul Mitchell.
4 Hannah Teter - Snowboarder - Net Worth: $1 million
From Burton to Samsung, Hannah Teter has been sponsored by high-profile companies, and it’s no surprise why as the snowboarder is vying for her chance at adding another gold medal to her collection this year in Sochi. On top of her endorsement deals, the Winter X Games gold medalist also was featured in several documentaries about snowboarding as well as magazines such as Sports Illustrated.
Teter is known for her charity work, including Sweet Cheeks panties, an underwear line she created, the profits of which all go to Doctors Without Borders. She was aiming to earn $100,000 in donations from the panties and she also donated her $10,000 Grand Prix prize money to Haiti’s earthquake victims.
3 Ted Ligety - Alpine Skier - Net Worth: $2 million
Olympic SportsMan of the Year, Ted Ligety, was named so in honor of his outstanding 2012-2013 racing season; he’s the first alpine male skier in history to win the title. Ligety won three alpine ski racing events in the World Championships this year among other victories over his storied career.
With so much recent success, it’s unsurprising that Ligety earned endorsement deals with 2XU, Audi and Slytech, among others. Ligety also pockets prize money, including over $100,000 for his 2013 Alpine Rockfest winning race. The alpine skier used his earnings to create Shred Optics, a clothing company specializing in ski goggles, sunglasses and helmets. Shred is Ligety's nickname given to him by a former coach.
Ligety won a gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
2 Bode Miller - Alpine Skier - Net Worth: $8 million
Winner of a gold, silver and bronze Olympic medal, Bode Miller will return to the slopes to compete again despite being 36-years-old. Miller has been slowly but surely returning to form after undergoing knee surgery in 2012. He had a top-three finish in one of his nine World Cup races this year.
Miller’s known for how he is off the slopes almost as much as he is for his performances on it. It’s hard to forget how in 2006, Miller completed only two of his five events and didn’t bring home any medals; his only accolades coming from his extensive partying. Still, thanks to his 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic medals plus his 33 World Cup wins and two World Cup Championships, the alpine skier notched Nike and Head endorsement deals which padded his pockets.
1 Shaun White - Snowboarder - Net Worth: $20 million
Due to some bad weather, Shaun White has yet to guarantee himself a slopestyle spot in Sochi. The Flying Tomato has advanced in the slopestyle qualifying and is trying to make the Olympic team in not just slopestyle but also the halfpipe. By making the team roster, White would be fighting for his third Olympic gold medal. The snowboarder picked up the gold first in 2006 in Turin, followed by Vancouver in 2010 for the halfpipe.
Thanks to dominating at not just the Olympics but also the Winter X-Games and Winter Dew Tour, Shaun White has become the unofficial face of snowboarding. He’s scored endorsement deals with Target, Red Bull and Oakley, just to name a few. His biggest is perhaps his 10-year, multi-million dollar contract with Burton Snowboards. He pockets approximately $2 million per contract otherwise.
Just three years ago, Shaun White was tied for highest net worth with fellow Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-Na. However, because of these huge deals, White was able to surpass the South Korean figure skater who is worth $14 million.
Recently White used his earnings to purchase a majority share in Air & Style, a snowboarding event competition taking place in arenas and stadiums across Europe. However, things haven’t been totally smooth-sailing for the Olympian since the Vancouver games. White was arrested in Nashville in 2012 for vandalism and public intoxication.
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