If you are at the top you can make good money in any sport. Shane Hammon (weightlifting) got 8th place or something like that in the olympics and he has a huge house in Oklahoma. After the olympics it is a quick sprint to make as much money as you can. You make personal appearences, try to get commercials, speak at schools, do seminars on training, whatever. That one Asian professional eater made over a million in one year. A lot of the money comes from sponsors. Even if you are not a huge national star you can make money. Think about it, if you just go to the olympics you will probably be a hometown hero and you can get hometown sponsors and commercials, and public appearences, I once saw a former chicago bears player (tom waddle) make an appearence at a tire store. For small local bussinesses any advertising is good advertising. And if you are at the top of your field you are a star in that field even if it is a small following. If you are a shot putter you endorse shots, or throwing shoes, or nutritional supps, or equipment or whatever throwers like to buy. There is this rowing club who trains in our olympic development center and their coach is the king of booster clubs. He hustles local bussinesses for sponsorship all over the place, and they are happy to give money because because they get advertising on suits, t-shirts and posters for events, and it is a tax write-off for them. Also Sports like skiing, skating and track and field have a bigger following in Europe. I know they actually pay track athletes to come to Europe and compete so they can sell tickets. I think Michael Johnson was being paid about a quater mil. for one race. On the other hand a lot of athletes who might be good enough for the olympics but not the top American or a medal contender in thier sport might make close to nothing. Most live in a resident program and get a stipend of only about 500-1000 a month. Or they get an O-job, they work at home depot and the USOC matches thier pay. There are lots of athletes living this way who are on the national and world teams but will never make it to the olympics. One of those gymnastics girls was delivering pizzas until Pam Anderson sponsored her until she made the olympic team.