The Myth About Track and Field Athlete Earnings

It's hard to miss the beautifully choreographed commercials and shiny magazine advertisements touting the best track athletes in the world who have garnered sponsorships from the likes of Nike, Reebok or Under Armour. These are the reigning queens and kings of the field. But they're also the "haves" of athlete funding.

We ran across an uber fascinating, but not so shocking, study from a couple of years ago that outlines the incomes of USA professional track and field athletes. The takeaway? You can be a top 10-ranked athlete and still barely make enough money from the sport to pay your rent or your Gatorade habit.

The study was highlighted on the Track and Field Athletes Association's website. The post says:

  • The survey confirmed the overall steep pyramid of income opportunities, with over 50% of top 10 ranked athletes earning less than $15,000 from the sport, as well as the wide variations between elite athletes in different events.

The reality is we Americans have mad love for our U.S. gold medals and world titles, but we don't allocate tax dollars to fund our elite athletes, especially those on the cusp of winning those titles. That leaves the majority of funding up to the sport's national governing body and clubs at the local level — and there's just not enough "cashola" to meet all the needs.

Big props to USA Track and Field for releasing the study. But now we just need to push that funding needle in a new direction.

Can we hear some shout-outs for athlete crowdfunding? We've seen how inspiring athlete stories can inspire thousands to kick in a few bucks to see someone succeed.

Are you a track and field athlete who wants to take control of your funding? Jump on board with RallyMe — we'll take you there.

Whitney Childers is the self-crowned queen of athlete crowdfunding tips and tricks for RallyMe.