Day jobs of Winter Olympic athletes
Nina Roth, a 30-year-old professional curler, finally met her dreams and made her Olympic debut at the 2018 Winter Olympics with the USA Team. But to achieve that she had to work extra hard at the full-time job she has as a registered nurse. She doesn’t have lucrative sponsorship deals as some Olympic standouts, so she had to make ends meet otherwise. “It’s difficult to balance the two,” she admits. “But I wouldn’t feel fulfilled without both of them.”
Nina is just one of many Olympic competitors who has a side job outside their athletic careers to afford to compete. Unfortunately, not all of them manage to handle it as well as she does. 29-year-old curling athlete Tabitha Peterson, that otherwise works in a retail pharmacy, had to move to a part-time schedule to better accommodate her curling career. As she reports, part of the issue was her travelling schedule and her inability to work remotely.
There is a major problem here – there is no replacement for those lost wages. As Peterson explains, they don’t make enough money on the World Curling Tour to make up for it. Of course, the highest-earning curlers can make upward of $100,000 in a touring season, but the rest of them make far below that. In 2017/18 season only the top 10 women curlers made $40,000 or higher, with the rest making anywhere from $39,000 to $100. Therefore, when Peterson is at home, she has to work about 40 hours a week despite having a part-time schedule, in order to keep up with the expenses.
In the last couple of years, several programs emerged to help athletes find an appropriate job to support their sporting career and stay financially stable. Eleven of the 2018 Winter Olympic athletes and two Paralympic athletes are part of the United States Olympic Committee’s Contenders Program, which partners with Dick’s Sporting Goods at locations around the USA. They offer positions in their stores that accommodate athlete’s training and competition schedules, offer a generous hourly wage, and are available for them to return to after weeks of competition abroad. Also, Adecco, the world’s largest temp hiring firm, stepped up with a program that helps athletes find flexible job opportunities, provide valuable, hands-on career experience, and offer advice on resume development, interview preparation and job market research.
These kind of programs help a lot but are not available in many countries. A lot of athletes struggle hard to find appropriate ways to support their careers, not to mention the cuts in athletic progress and success because of exhaustion, excessive stress a side job brings, and lack of time to regenerate. SportyCo can help those athletes by providing financial support with donations and investments from the community. It will allow them to focus merely on their sporting goals and make the best out of their athletes’ careers.