How Much Money do Track and Field Athletes Actually Make? *Reblog*

Interesting post from Track and field athletes association by Jack Wickens! I think it is pretty accurate. As an athlete, I know that most track and field athletes have to have other sources of income. It is amazing the passion that most of the people have for the sport. You have to be passionate to make so little but still work so hard! Link and blog post below!

http://trackandfieldathletesassociation.org/site/how-much-money-do-track-and-field-athletes-actually-make/

How Much Money do Track and Field Athletes Actually Make?

July 25, 2013  By Leave a Comment

Open up your local newspaper or do a web search and you can easily view the income levels of top professional athletes in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, etc. Try to find similar data for track & field athletes and you’ll pretty much come up empty.

There are many things that cause this lack of public transparency about professional track & field athlete earnings – not the least of which is that the primary source of this income (shoe company sponsors) is negotiated privately with each individual athlete/agent, and the contracts often contain performance trigger points and bonus clauses that add unpredictability to the contract value. Also, sources that are visible, like prize money, are generally too small to generate much public attention.

This “secrecy” may be an inevitable element of our athlete’s “independent contractor” status but in some ways it has not helped advance the sport, has not helped attract young athletes, and has not helped the negotiating leverage of our athletes.

The athlete survey that was conducted at last month’s National Championship meet revealed that the study that the USATF Foundation released a couple years ago is still accurate. The survey confirmed the overall steep pyramid of income opportunities, with over 50% of top ten ranked athletes earning less than $15,000 from the sport, as well as the wide variations between elite athletes in different events. Below is the re-release of the results of the earlier study (the full report is available HERE), along with graphs drawn from the recent survey data.

USA PROFESSIONAL TRACK & FIELD

INCOME STUDY

  • Typical Agent fees are 15%; $’s shown are pre-tax
  • Dollar amounts below reflect total of sponsorship contracts and bonuses, prize money, grants, and stipends. No estimated value is included for part-time job income, career support, health insurance or injury support services, training center services, or tuition grants.

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What it Takes

A week or so ago, I met a college triple jumper and somehow ended up asking her if she wanted to compete professionally. Her response was, “It’s not my dream but I wouldn’t mind.” Upon further reflection, I believe when I first came out of college that was me. It wasn’t my dream to run professionally, I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to do (I’m not sure if I even know what I really want to do now lol). When I first came out of college it just seemed like the right move. It was more of a curiosity than a dream. I believed I could run a lot faster. I thought that by going to a small school and doing well (becoming All-American, making Nationals 3/4 years, going to the Olympic Trials) that if I’d been able to go to a larger school with more resources, I would have done even better and I wanted to know how fast I could go under the “right training” but “a dream” probably not even close. Through that journey, I met some amazing people, traveled, and learned a lot about myself and others.

You are probably wondering, well is it a dream now???? A dream?

Well according to Webster, a dream (in the context I am talking) is defined as;

Something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time

4. a:  a strongly desired goal or purpose <a dream of becoming president>

b:  something that fully satisfies a wish :ideal <a meal that was a gourmet’s dream>

I don’t think this defines how I look at it now. It is more of a relentless mission. Something I feel I have been assigned to do and must fight tireless to achieve. There is an objective, a plan, a strategy… it is no longer a strong desire because a desire is longing for or hoping or wanting… No, this is not desire it is will, diligence, sacrifice, action. A dream is something that isn’t going to happen, “A dream come true” is a surprise. This will be fought for with sweat, lactic acid, tears, prayer, weight room, workouts, drills, it will be no surprise, it will be deserved. This is not a game, it’s a war, against opponents but more importantly myself. As Muhammad Ali said,

“Champions are not made in the gym. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them- a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

All of this to say, the young girl made me think about how far I’ve come, where I’m headed and what it takes.

Itching

It’s 2014 and indoor season is here! Many of my track friends have opened up there indoor seasons this weekend. I being a stan found out their results online or talked to them shortly after their races. I’m happy to see that everyone has had pretty decent openers in their respective events. I decided to sit in the stands for this indoor season and not race. I may do an off event (300, 500, 600) here or there but I won’t try to make the Indoor World Championship Team, instead I want to focus my efforts on my event, the 400 hurdles. I’m sooo excited for the season. I’m ready to start putting my race together and kill this year. I have big plans for the season but it all starts with practice! I remember when I was in high school one of my teacher’s hated the phase, “Practice makes perfect.” She said it’s an untrue statement because if you aren’t practicing “correctly” you will never “make perfect.” My teacher preferred her own saying, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” This is actually a lesson I’ve learned during my track career. Just because you are practicing everyday, giving it your all, doing your best, following all your coaches instructions doesn’t mean that you will perfect your event because you may be indeed practicing all the wrong things. During this past year I have become a student in the 400 hurdles and now other events don’t interest me as much (when it comes to me competing in them), I’d rather focus my attention on perfecting the 400 hurdles. My main focus this year is my left lead leg. Last year it cost me anywhere from half a second to a full second (that’s 55.15-55.65), it was so uncoordinated, when I used it as a lead leg I slowed down and lost momentum. :/ This year after months and months of drilling, it’s finally pretty coordinated! About half the time I use it, it’s great! The other half is a little off sometimes. I just really have to focus. Soon I think it will be as natural as my right leg 😀

Anyways, all this to say I am very, very excited to start really working on them and putting my race together. All this conditioning and short hurdle work is a drag. I know I need it in order to get where I want to be in the longs but geez enough already! Time to get to down to business! I have about 9 weeks before outdoor starts 😀 So I’m just itching to get around this track! Well, I’m more so itching to practice these hurdles. Soon I’ll be on them at least 3 times a week (I literally can’t wait). Few people know this but I actually hate flat running. It’s soooo boring. Nothing to think about, just running :/ and don’t even get me started on my dislike for long runs! But I LOVE hurdling, even the shorts I love them too but the longs… gush… I can’t even describe my love for them. The fitness, the rhythm, the zone, you have to be in… it’s just … <3.  This year, I have a new race strategy this year and I’m so thirsty to see if it works and what about it needs to be tweaked (there is always room for improvement). Anyways, the next 9 weeks I will be transforming into beast mode!

Thanks for reading!