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Top 10 richest Olympic athletes in history

Some Olympic athletes manage to become famous and wealthy due to their success in the games, but those are not the ones we are going to talk about here. World’s richest Olympic athletes are not the ones standing atop the Olympic podium with all those medals. The list is dominated by those who became insanely rich outside the realm of the Olympics, in sports that bring the most money in general, and also by becoming highly successful entrepreneurs.

Here are the top 10 richest Olympians in history according to their net worth.

Michael Jordan – $1.4 billion (Basketball, U.S.)

Jordan is known to be the greatest basketball player of all time. He led U.S.  men’s basketball team to gold medals in two Olympics – in 1984, when he was still a college player, and later on 1992, as a reigning NBA regular. He won six NBA title with Chicago Bulls and is 10-time NBA scoring champion. 

Jordan is currently the principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, that is now worth $1.05 billion with him owning 90% of the team. He is also the name behind the most powerful brand in basketball sneakers, Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers, that were introduced in 1984 and remain popular till today. He earned $90 million in on-court salary during his career, and another $1.4 billion pre-tax from corporate partners. In addition to Nike, he still has endorsement deals with Gatorade, Hanes, and Upper Deck.

Ion Tiriac – $1.32 billion (Ice hockey & Tennis, Romania)

Ion Tiriac, also known as the ‘Brașov Bulldozer’, is probably one of the most interesting men in the world. He represented Romania as a defenseman in the national ice hockey team at the 1964 Winter Olympics, and became a top-10-ranked professional tennis player later on in the 1970s, winning one grand slam title and French Open in men’s double.

After his sports career, he gained notoriety as an advisor-coach-manager for sports stars like Boris Becker. He is the developer and owner of the Mutua Madrid Open masters tennis tournament and has been managing French tennis player Lucas Pouille since December 2016. Tiriac also pushed beyond sports to gain status as a global entrepreneur with investments in stakes and insurance companies, petroleum distribution, and auto dealership. He owns the Tiriac Collection, a museum in Romania, that displays his personal cars, like Rolls Royces, Ferraris, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – each $600+ million (Rowing, U.S.)

The Winklevoss twins competed in the men’s pair rowing event for Team USA at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where they end up on 6th place. But that’s not what they are best known for. They are the co-founders of HarvardConnection (later renamed ConnectU) and sued Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, claiming he stole their idea to create the popular social networking site, and ultimately received $65 million.

Cameron and Tyler are also one of the brilliant early investors in Bitcoin, which made them each a billionaire when Bitcoin hit a high over $18,000 in December 2017. However, as Bitcoin dipped lower, their net worth dropped at around $600 million each.

Magic Johnson – $600 million (Basketball, U.S.)

Earvin “Magic” Johnson retired from the NBA in 1991 after announcing he has contracted HIV, but still went on as co-captain in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, winning the gold medal. He also played in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award, and retired again for four years, after protests from his fellow players.

Johnson returned in 1996 to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the final time. After that, this five-time NBA champion became a highly successful entrepreneur at the helm of Magic Johnson Enterprises. This $1 billion investing conglomerate is, among others, partner with Sony Pictures and Starbucks. He is now also a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and the MLS’s Los Angeles Football Club.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. – $560 million (Boxing, U.S.)

Mayweather managed to gather $275 million with his final return fight versus UFC champion Conor McGregor in August 2017, as the “A” side of the bout and for his role as a promoter. With that, he is the highest paid athlete in the 2017/2018 season.

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Despite his remarkable 50-0 record as a pro boxer, he has one memorable loss—a controversial decision in the semifinals of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Floyd ended up getting a bronze, while some say he was robbed of a gold medal, but that loss has motivated him to push for perfection in the boxing ring for years to come. His gross career earnings are in the ring up past $1 billion, with $560 million.

Cristiano Ronaldo – $400 million (Soccer, Portugal)

Cristiano was chosen to be a part of Portugal’s Olympic team in 2004 when he was playing for Manchester United. Portugal didn’t make it to the medal round that year, and he hasn’t competed in another Olympics since.

Today, Ronaldo plays for the Italian club Juventus, as well as Portugal’s national team. He is one of the world’s highest-paid soccer stars with a salary of $108 million last season. His lifetime Nike contract is worth upward of 1 billion U. S. dollars and he has a bunch of other endorsement deals including Herbalife, EA Sports and American Tourister, along with a growing line of CR7 branded products.

Shaquille O’Neal – $400 Million (Basketball, U.S.)

O’Neal was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, that won every game by more than 20 points. He is also a four-time NBA champion, a 15-time NBA All-Star, and is widely considered as one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA.

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Shaq is among the world’s highest-paid retired athletes thanks to many sponsorships and business deals, including Shaq-branded suits, sneakers, and jewellery. In July 2011, after retirement, he went on joining TNT as an analyst on its NBA basketball games, with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley, where he is still working till now.

LeBron James – $400 million (Basketball, U.S.)

When LeBron won his first Olympic medal in 2004, he was just 19-years-old. He went on winning gold in the next two Summer Olympics (2008 and 2012), and has till now four NBA MVP awards, three NBA title, and three NBA Finals MVP awards.

This Cleveland Cavaliers’ player remains the highest paid NBA player in the world with a salary of $85.5 million this season, mostly thanks to his of-court income. He is endorsed by many commercial giants, such as Nike, Coca-Cola (Sprite), Beats By Dre, Kia Motor, Intel and Blaze Pizza. His signature sneakers are the best-selling among active NBA players.

Roger Federer – $400 million (Tennis, Switzerland)

Federer is largely recognized as one of the most successful tennis players of all time, as he is constantly ranked among the top players in the ATP Rankings throughout his career. He has won two Olympic medals for Switzerland, a gold in doubles in 2008 and silver in the men’s singles in 2012.

Last year Federer claimed his record 20th Grand Slam title and remains the top-earning tennis player for 13th straight years, thanks to his endorsement deals with long-time partnerships including Wilson, Credit Suisse, Mercedes, Rolex, Lindt, Barilla, and many more. He won in all around $108 million in prize money and he makes roughly $60 million per year in sponsorship deals. No surprise his net worth is estimated at $400 million.

Source: Money, Olympic, Forbes, Forbes

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