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For Some Olympic Athletes, Gold Is Not All That Glitters

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For most athletes, winning a gold medal is the greatest reward but some elite athletes competing in the 2021 Tokyo Games have set their sights on a much larger prize.

In 1986, a decision by the International Federation allowed professional athletes to compete at the games alongside their amateur counterparts. So a bizarre phenomenon exists where the least-funded sportspeople on the planet compete with the world’s best-paid athletes.

While individual nation's Olympic committees provide monetary rewards for medal winners, (the U.S. gives $37,500 for each gold medal won at the Games) for top-level professional players, endorsements, sponsorships, salaries and other prizes amount to much more.  

The list of the top seven highest-paid athletes, compiled by Forbes tracked their income from May 1, 2020, to May 1, 2021, and included both on-the-field income, (salaries, bonuses, etc) and off-the-field income, (sponsorships, licensing deals, etc). 

Read about how much of the winnings and income these pros get to keep and how they maximize their earnings.

Also, see how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Japan's hopes for an economic boost from the Olympics. 

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