Gold is the color and currency of choice at the Olympic Games. Afterwards, though, many athletes turn their sights toward the green. While Olympians aren't paid for their participation in the global sports contest, many understand that strong performances on an international stage can build a framework for lucrative post-competition business opportunities.
That's a big deal for nearly every participant, especially those laboring at menial day jobs to help fund their Olympic dreams. Plus, sports like swimming and track and field see the Olympics as rare opportunities to seize the international spotlight after spending much of the previous four years in the shadows.
Success matters, but so does charisma. The athletes who get filthy rich often possess both: Wowing us with their performances, then winning us over with their good graces. Check out some Olympians were really able to cash.
Olympic Stars Who Got Filthy Rich After The Games
Who can forget the original golden boy of the summer games, Bruce Jenner? After his record-setting decathlon win in 1976, Jenner's image was everywhere, including on a Wheaties box, and on the cover of Playgirl.
Jenner has managed to maintain the spotlight later in life, although in a much different way. After starring on the TV show "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" for years, Jenner announced she was transgender and adopted the name Caitlyn. Jenner's estimated net worth is a staggering $100 million.
Johnson balanced and danced her way to an estimated $9 million estimated wealth. In 2008, the plucky teen from Iowa captured gold on the balance beam, silver in the women’s all-around competition and the mirror ball trophy on "Dancing With The Stars" less than a year later.
And all that glitter catapulted her into the hearts of American consumers and advertising moguls who wanted her to endorse their products. Nowadays, she lives in Nashville, where she is happily married to a Oakland Raiders long snapper Andrew East.
This lightning-fast Jamaican superstar sprinter was one of the biggest names in Beijing and London. Bolt, who set world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter runs in the 2008 Olympics and won gold in the 100-meter dash this year, had earned roughly $20 million in 2012 alone, according to Forbes.
The gold medalist enters another Summer Olympics as a favorite in his events, and even richer than four years earlier, with an estimated net worth of $30 million.
Liukin won five Olympic gymnastics medals in 2008, including becoming just the third American woman ever to win the all-around gold medal. As a result, she lined up endorsement deals with Subway and Cover Girl. In collaboration with JCPenney, she even released her own clothing line, Supergirl by Nastia.
Between her various endorsement deals, fashion line and other business ventures, Liukin is believed to have a net worth around $2 million, although she has chosen to keep her personal finances private.
Richards-Ross, one of the world's top sprinters, exited the 2012 Summer Olympics with an estimated net worth of at least $1 million, thanks to endorsement deals with BMW and Nike.
Now, as she works to make a fourth straight Olympic team, Richards-Ross's personal net worth is pegged at roughly $1.5 million. But her bank account is much larger than that, since she's married to the NFL cornerback Aaron Ross, an eight-year veteran with nearly $15 million in career earnings.
No swimmer has even come close to matching Phelps' financial success. A wunderkind from an early age, Phelps' eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics launched him to unprecedented heights for his sport, and for the Olympics. By the time the 2012 Olympics rolled around, his net worth was estimated at nearly $50 million.
Now, as he prepares for his final appearance at the Olympics, estimates have his net worth pegged at $55 million, not to mention the well-funded charitable foundation in his name. With a wide array of endorsement deals under his belt, Phelps is likely to add to that number after the summer Olympics in Rio -- and if he records another historic performance, the sky is the limit.
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