Former Olympic Athletes Who Now Have Huge Bank Accounts
It wasn't until 1986 that professional athletes were allowed to compete in the Olympic Games, which is why before that date, many of the world's best athletes refrained from participating in the Olympics.
Because of that rule change, in more recent years, many Olympians have ended up with bank accounts worth tens of millions of dollars. Some were already there or well on their way to their fortunes before their runs in the Olympics, while others' careers were jump-started by their Olympic success.
Ray Bourque - $20 Million
Ray Bourque competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics in ice hockey for Canada. Though his team didn’t win a medal, that wasn’t a reflection of his exceptional hockey career overall. Bourque played for the NHL and was awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy for best defender five times.
Bourque retired in 2001 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. Today, his net worth is $20 million thanks to a long and successful career as a hockey player for both the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche.
Oksana Baiul - $20 Million
Oksana Baiul is the only Ukrainian skater to ever win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. She won her gold in 1994 at age 16, beating American skater Nancy Kerrigan by a slim margin and becoming one of the youngest Olympic figure skating champions of all time.
Many viewed the win to be controversial, but the referees defended their position, stating that Baiul provided an engaging and artistic style over Kerrigan's cautious skating. Baiul's gold medal win led her to a subsequent professional skating career, a good decision seeing that her current net worth has reached $20 million.
Caroline Wozniacki - $20 Million
Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, though she never won a medal. Despite that, she’s still a fantastic athlete and one of the highest-paid former Olympians out there. She has a total of 30 singles titles to her name, including one Grand Slam title.
Wozniacki's net worth is $20 million. She is the fourth-highest ranking female tennis player in terms of the amount of prize money she’s won. She also appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2015 alongside Serena and Venus Williams.
Carl Lewis - $20 Million
With nine Olympic gold medals under his belt, Carl Lewis had an incredible run throughout four consecutive Olympic tournaments. In fact, he’s the only man to have ever won gold for the long jump for four consecutive Olympics — in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996.
During the 1984 Olympics, Lewis accomplished an amazing feat. He matched Jesse Owens' exact achievements at the 1936 Olympics, winning gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the long jump, the 200-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay. His net worth today is $20 million.
Alan Pascoe - $30 Million
British athlete Alan Pascoe won a silver medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics in hurdles. He went on to win several gold medals in European championships, plus additional silver and bronze medals. When he retired as an athlete, he moved on to become a successful event marketer and consultant.
Pascoe's business endeavors have earned him a net worth of $30 million. He began with Alan Pascoe Associates Ltd., sold that and started Fast Track Events Ltd. In 2003, Pascoe became vice-chairman for the London bid for the Summer Olympics in 2012, which London did end up hosting.
Scott Hamilton - $30 Million
Scott Hamilton says that figure skating saved his life. When he was a child, he somehow just stopped growing, and doctors couldn’t figure out why. The illness corrected itself on its own eventually, but it was Hamilton's skating that helped him achieve a normal life and, as he excelled, gave him a sense of self-esteem.
Over the course of his figure skating career, Hamilton won many world and national championships, the highlight being winning the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. Today, he has a net worth of $30 million.
Greg LeMond - $40 Million
Greg LeMond is one of America's best cyclists. He was the youngest American ever picked for the U.S. Olympic cycling team in 1980. However, because the United States protested those games, which took place in Moscow, LeMond never got to compete.
Still, LeMond continued with great success throughout his cycling career. He won 22 major races, was the first American to win a major European cycling tournament and won the Tour de France three times. After he retired, he founded LeMond Bicycles, among various other business ventures, to eventually gain a net worth of $40 million.
Shaun White - $40 Million
Snowboarding has only been an Olympic sport since 1998. Since that time, Shaun White has managed to snag three Olympic gold medals for the U.S. snowboarding team. He won his first gold medal in 2006 and his second in 2010.
While he was training for the 2018 Olympics, he crashed and ended up needing 62 stitches in his face. Despite this, he still competed and earned a gold medal for the men's halfpipe. His many endorsements, including Burton Snowboards, Target, Red Bull and Hewlett-Packard, have helped him reach his net worth of $40 million.
Lee Chong Wei - $45 Million
Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei won three Olympic silver medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016. He had initially planned to return to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but his doctor informed him that, after dealing with early-stage nose cancer, he risked the disease coming back by training.
Some say Wei is Asia's highest-paid athlete, with a net worth of $45 million. Because of how unpopular badminton is in many parts of the world, this may seem hard to believe, but it’s hard to argue with his bank account.
Michael Phelps - $60 Million
When Michael Phelps was a child, he was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In response, he was advised to take up swimming to deal with all his excess energy. It turns out that was a great move. By age 31, the U.S. swimmer had won 23 gold medals, three silvers and two bronzes in various Olympic swimming competitions.
Phelps holds the record for Olympic gold medals, which he won throughout the course of five Olympic competitions: 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. There’s no question that he’s earned the $60 million that he's worth today.
Usain Bolt - $90 Million
Usain Bolt, a Jamaican former sprinter who has won nine Olympic medals, is considered to be the best sprinter (read: the fastest man) to have ever lived. He won Olympic golds for the 100- and 200-meter titles for three consecutive Olympics: 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Aside from the world of sprinting, Bolt is also one of the world's most recognized athletes overall. He has an enormous endorsement deal with Puma and has also been endorsed by Gatorade. In addition, he co-founded an electric scooter company called Bolt Mobility in 2018. His net worth is $90 million.
Carmelo Anthony - $90 Million
Carmelo Anthony has competed at four Olympic Games for Team USA basketball: 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. As such, he has won four Olympic medals — three of them gold and one of them bronze. That’s more Olympic medals than any other male basketball player.
Anthony is also a professional basketball player for the NBA and has been since he was signed in 2003 by the Denver Nuggets. In 2014, he signed a $124 million contract with the New York Knicks, a decision that has gotten him plenty more attention. Today, his net worth is $90 million.
Caitlyn Jenner - $100 Million
Caitlyn Jenner won the gold medal in the decathlon during the 1976 Montreal Olympics, setting a world record with 8,634 points. Jenner went on to capitalize on Olympic fame, including being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and becoming the spokesperson for Wheaties.
Jenner married Kris Kardashian in 1991 and starred in the reality series Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In 2014, the couple got divorced. In 2015, Jenner came out publicly as a transwoman, changing her name to Caitlyn. Throughout her busy life, she has amassed a net worth of $100 million.
Lance Armstrong - $125 Million
Lance Armstrong has become famous not only for his incredible overall cycling record, seven Tour de France titles and bronze medal during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but also for the biggest doping scandal the cycling world has ever seen.
After an investigation into Armstrong for using performance-enhancing drugs, he was stripped of all of his titles, which also forced him to give back all the money he won. Despite this, he’s still worth $125 million, in part because of his early investment in Uber and perhaps even his new hit podcast, THEMOVE.
Kevin Durant - $170 Million
Kevin Durant competed with the U.S. men’s basketball team in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, helping the teams win gold medals in each. During his participation in the 2012 Olympics, he set the record for points scored during an Olympic basketball tournament.
Durant was also recognized for his role in the 2016 Olympic gold medal win for Team USA basketball. He was co-named (with Carmelo Anthony) as USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year largely based on his Olympic performance. His career in the NBA started in 2007, and now his net worth is $170 million.
Rafael Nadal - $180 Million
Spain's Rafael Nadal, now worth $180 million, took the gold medal for men's singles during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It was his first time competing in the Olympics, and he was able to outmatch top players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. While he had beaten them before, besting them in the Olympics helped show the world his enormous talent.
Nadal also participated in the 2012 Olympics but ultimately had to withdraw due to an injury. He won another gold medal during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and he plans to compete again in Tokyo in 2020.
Serena Williams - $180 Million
Serena Williams, with a net worth of $180 million, is considered perhaps the greatest female tennis player ever to exist. Her sister, Venus Williams, is also an incredibly talented tennis player, and in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the girls won their first of three doubles gold medals.
Serena won a fourth Olympic gold in women's singles tennis while competing in the 2012 London Olympics. Her tennis career overall includes more titles than it makes sense to count. Still, her four Olympic gold medals won over the course of four separate Olympic Games have no doubt added to her prestige.
Neymar - $185 Million
Neymar, one of the world's highest-paid soccer players, helped lead his native Brazil to victory during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It was Brazil's first Olympic gold medal in soccer. Neymar plays for both the Brazil National Team and the French club Paris Saint-Germain.
Earning roughly $28 million a year these days both through his soccer contracts and sponsorships, Neymar now has a net worth of $185 million. It's yet to be seen if he will play in the 2020 Olympics, though if he does, it will make Brazil all the more likely to win gold again.
Novak Djokovic - $220 Million
The Serbian professional tennis player Novak Djokovic is one of the most successful tennis players in the world, worth $220 million. While he has won many tennis matches throughout his career, his time competing in the Olympic Games in 2008, 2012 and 2016 didn’t provide him the honor he might have wanted.
In the 2008 Olympics, Djokovic won his only Olympic medal, a bronze in men's singles. He plans on competing again in 2020, as winning a gold medal in the Olympics is his dream — regardless of the amount of money he’s earned in his successful tennis career.
Lionel Messi - $400 Million
Lionel Messi is a famous soccer player for FC Barcelona, though he is originally from Argentina. He played for Argentina during the 2008 Olympic Games, proving himself to be quite pivotal for the team and leading them to win a gold medal. He was only 21 years old, and this was early in his career.
Despite tons of success in his soccer career, Messi calls his Olympic gold medal his most prized win. He attributes valuing it so much to the fact that it is easily a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Over a decade later, Messi is now worth $400 million.
Shaquille O’Neal - $400 Million
Shaquille O’Neal, also known as Shaq, was a high school, then college, then NBA basketball star. His professional career in the NBA began in 1992 when he was a first-round draft pick by the Orlando Magic. Four years later, he went on to play in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta for the U.S. basketball team, helping to secure the gold medal.
Later, Shaq revealed that he wasn't pleased about being left off the U.S. basketball "Dream Team" during the 1992 Olympics. But clearly his career wasn’t affected by this snub; he’s amassed a net worth of $400 million throughout his career.
Roger Federer - $450 Million
Swiss tennis player Roger Federer is perhaps the world's most successful tennis star. Ever. That being said, while he has 19 Grand Slam victories, he’s only won one Olympic gold medal, and that was for men's doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Federer took second for a silver medal in men's singles, but now he wants to go back to compete in 2020 in Tokyo for a chance at the gold for men's singles. His Olympic record aside, Federer is hugely successful with $450 million to his name.
Cristiano Ronaldo - $460 Million
Back in 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo began his soccer career at age 18 with Manchester United, having proven his incredible talent already as a youth. In 2004, he participated in the Olympic Games in Athens for Portugal’s team, though this team did not win a medal.
Ronaldo didn't look like the soccer star he eventually became during the 2004 Olympics, at one point missing an open goal, but luckily, that error didn’t set the stage for the rest of his career. Now, his net worth is $460 million, and Ronaldo is the most-followed person on Instagram, with over 200 million followers.
LeBron James - $480 Million
LeBron James began his basketball career right out of high school with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. Shortly after that, in 2004, he competed in his first Olympic Games in Athens, though the U.S. team only took home the bronze medal.
James went on to play for the U.S. men’s basketball team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The team took gold both years. While James has his highly successful NBA career to thank for his net worth of $480 million, the prestige of serving as a three-time medaling Olympian has no doubt contributed to James' clout as an athlete.
Kobe Bryant - $500 Million
Kobe Bryant was a basketball star before he competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so his wealth did not come from being an Olympian. That being said, he was a crucial part of that 2008 Olympic team, leading them to win the gold that year after the U.S. team only got the bronze in 2004.
Bryant also competed in the 2012 Olympics, in which the U.S. team also earned the gold medal. While he was invited to play again in the 2016 Olympics, he ultimately passed, wanting his last career game to be with the Lakers. At the time of his death in January 2020, his net worth was around $500 million.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. - $560 Million
Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. While he’s known for being undefeated in his subsequent professional career, eventually earning him a net worth of $560 million, those Olympics didn’t treat the teenage Mayweather quite so well.
A very controversial call led Mayweather to lose the semi-final Olympic match to Serafim Todorov, when many thought he was about to win a gold medal. That loss may have been just the thing that motivated him to never lose a match again, so perhaps it was a good call after all.
Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss - $600 Million Each
The identical Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics together in men's pair rowing. They placed sixth, far from winning any medals. However, their huge fortunes, each worth over $600 million, came from their part in the creation of Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, not from their short time as Olympians.
Zuckerberg helped the twins launch the original version of Facebook, HarvardConnection, in 2004. Zuckerberg then used their ideas to create Facebook and never gave them credit. So, in 2008, they sued Zuckerberg and settled for $65 million, $45 million of which was in Facebook stock.
Magic Johnson - $600 Million
Before the 1989 International Olympic Committee decided to allow professional players to compete in the Olympic Games, basketball wasn't really on the Olympic Games' map. However, once that decision was made, the U.S. got Earvin "Magic" Johnson to lead the 1992 team in Barcelona.
The 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team became known as the "Dream Team," largely because of Johnson, as he single-handedly got Larry Bird and Michael Jordan on board. Of course, Johnson's fortune of $600 million mostly came from his NBA career, but he still says winning at the Olympics was "the greatest moment of [his] life."
Ion Tiriac - $1.1 Billion
Romanian Olympian-turned-businessman Ion Tiriac's net worth is $1.1 billion. He competed on the Romanian national ice hockey team in 1964. However, he later became a professional tennis player, winning the 1970 French Open in men's doubles. Tiriac was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.
Tiriac only made a few million dollars during his athletic career in the 1960s and 1970s. Still, he used his wealth to go into business, investing in petroleum, real estate and car dealerships. He’s also the president of the Romanian Tennis Federation.
Michael Jordan - $1.9 Billion
Before Michael Jordan rose to the top of the NBA and became one of the most famous athletes of all time, he was an Olympian. Jordan competed in the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics and a few months later was drafted to the Chicago Bulls as the number-three overall pick.
Michael Jordan also played in the 1992 Olympics, this time as a professional athlete. Neither of his Olympic teams ever lost a game, and he won gold medals both times. Now, Jordan is worth $1.9 billion. He's the wealthiest former Olympian to date.