Three cyclists – Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome – are among the five wealthiest Team GB medal winners at Rio, according to The Sunday Times [£].
The ranking, based on analysis by The Sunday Times Rich List team, is unsurprisingly topped by tennis star Andy Murray, who has a reported net worth of £62 million, followed by golfer Justin Rose, at £33 million.
While some people insist that there should be no place in the Games for those sports, two-time Olympic gold medallist Murray has said he sees the tournament as a ‘fifth major.’
Meanwhile Rose, unlike some of his rivals on the tour, fully embraced the chance of competing in Rio and came home with the gold medal.
Next on The Sunday Times’ list come Wiggins, Cavendish and Froome, whose net worth is put, respectively, at £13 million, £12 million and £10 million.
While endorsements will play a part in that, mainly those figures are likely to reflect the seven-figure annual salaries that male pro cyclists at the top of their game are able to command from their trade teams.
That’s not an option for the next two names on the list – the heptathlete Jessica-Ennis Hill in sixth, and long-distance runner Mo Farah, at £5 million and £4 million respectively.
In their cases, wealth will have been built on commercial sponsorship such as Ennis-Hill’s long-running deal with Santander or Farah’s with Nike, plus appearance and prize money to compete in events.
Triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee – inseparable even on a list ranking sportspeople by earnings – come next at £3.5 million.
They’re followed by diver Tom Daley, winner of bronze in Rio, as he was in London, his net worth of £2.5 million reflecting perhaps the pulling power of some athletes’ personalities rather than their Olympic performance.
Indeed, ahead of the 2012 Games, Daley was criticised by British diving’s performance director over whether his high-profile media activities had affected his preparations for the event.
The diver came under similar criticism in 2013 when he fronted the critically-panned reality TV diving show Splash! Rounding off the top ten is Laura Trott, who won golds at Rio in the team pursuit and omnium, just as she had done in London four years ago, with a net worth reported at £700,000 – a stark contrast to the amounts estimated for the trio of male cyclists further up the list.
While Trott did switch to the road after 2012 as a founder member of the Wiggle Honda team, it’s well documented that salaries in women’s cycling are a fraction of those available to top male riders, and as Rio approached, her focus switched back to the track.
As Great Britain’s most successful female Olympian, and a household name at that, more commercial opportunities are likely to come the way of Trott, who marries fiancé Jason Kenny next month.
With the couple now having 10 Olympic gold medals between them, selling the photo rights to the wedding to a celebrity magazine is an obvious way to cash in on their fame – although given Kenny’s low profile out of competition, an unlikely one, perhaps.
Estimates of net worth by The Sunday Times Rich List are based mainly on publicly available information such as ownership of land, property or identifiable assets including shareholdings in public companies.
The athletes featured in the top ten all either secured gold at London or have been at the top of their sport for several years – in most cases, both – and their success in Rio will, in most cases, enhance their earning power further.
By focusing on medal winners, the list misses out some other British Olympians at Rio who otherwise may have made it – not least golfer Danny Willett, whose US Masters victory this year reportedly took him over £10 million in career earnings and is estimated to be worth a further £5 million in endorsements over the next two years.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.