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Some Olympic Thoughts « blog maverick

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"Unlike Wade, maybe other Olympic sport athletes just don’t understand one fact: The Olympics are a business, plain and simple. A tax-free juggernaut called the International Olympic Committee that generates revenues, on average, of over $1.4 billion a year. In fact, the IOC’s 2010 tax return shows a $1.4 billion net balance — as in cash in the bank.

Why? Because most Olympic sport athletes are severely underpaid — if at all. For every Usain Bolt who makes millions in endorsements and appearance fees (none from the IOC, however), there’s hundreds of elite athletes making ends meet just so they can train.

Yes, the United States Olympic Committee will pay $25 thousand for a gold medal and some sports national governing bodies will add more (US Swimming gives $75 thousand per gold medal). And select U.S. athletes receive training stipends (usually based on need) and Elite Athlete Health Insurance to cover medical costs.

But those amounts pale in comparison to the revenues earned from their talents — especially if you’re a U.S. athlete. For the 2005-08 Quadrennium, revenue from U.S. only broadcast rights netted the IOC over $625 million, annually. And U.S. based corporate sponsors contributed over $120 million, annually, to the IOC.

But the greater issue is that there’s not much they can do about it. The IOC is a monopoly."

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