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Thread: Do most skaters end up in debt after their careers are over?

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Just to throw some numbers out there, if you (a singles skater) won both of your Grand Prix events, plus the Grand Prix final, plus Europeans or Four Continents, plus Worlds, you would net US$ 126,000 in prize money. Subtract 90,000 for expenses, and your annual salary was 36,000.
    If you won all those competitions, then you just might get that year end World Ranking bonus. This skater would probably have benefitted from federation support. There's also potential prize money from WTT. And if you're that good, then there's income from shows. I'd guess that anyone who wins worlds would net way more than $36K that year.

    I think it's probably worst for those who maybe show some promise as juniors, have the training expenses, but never succeed as a senior - the Marianne Dubuc, Audrey Thibault and Janina Louie's of the world (junior Canadian podium in 2000). Or skaters like Danielle Kahle or Keyla Ohs. They get the cruise shows and the Disney on Ice, but I see that more as a job than something that significantly offsets prior year's training expenses.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I remember reading once that when Michelle Kwan was a little girl her father wanted to make sure that she was really serious, so he made her this offer. If she would quit skating he would give her the money in cash that he intended to spend on her skating lessons for the year.

    Michelle chose to skate on -- and the rest is history.
    Thx, MM -- great anecdote. (If Karen K. received the same offer, then she also must have turned it down. )

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scout View Post
    I think it's probably worst for those who maybe show some promise as juniors, have the training expenses, but never succeed as a senior - the Marianne Dubuc, Audrey Thibault and Janina Louie's of the world (junior Canadian podium in 2000). Or skaters like Danielle Kahle or Keyla Ohs. They get the cruise shows and the Disney on Ice, but I see that more as a job than something that significantly offsets prior year's training expenses.
    Yes, that's the problem, isn't it? Skating excellence is a pyramid with a relatively broad base that comes to a sharp and narrow point at the top. Not a lot of room for people who can reap the rewards, but everyone has similar expenses.

    Skating is a bit like gambling: you shouldn't lay out money that you aren't prepared to lose.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Well said, momof5, and welcome to GS!

    I imagine gymnastics is like this as well, except that the pattern of spending varies a bit. Like skating, gymnastics can create stars within the sport with nowhere to go afterward. There's almost no room at the top. Gabby Douglas is literally one of a kind for various reasons, including the fact that no other American has ever won a double gold in Olympic gymnastics (team gold, individual all-around). Likewise, Michelle Kwan is unique in skating. Even potential gold medalists Davis and White don't seem to be growing rich and famous from their stellar skating.

    Another thought: unlike many other sports, skating and gymnastics training begins at such an early age that the result is years of extra expense. Of course kids can start playing baseball and football in elementary school, but a talented player can begin in high school or later, whereas skaters really need to start honing their bodies by the age of about seven or earlier. That's almost another decade of expensive coaching, ice time, travel, and so forth.

    Your point about keeping school a priority is so important. God forbid there's an injury, leaving the athlete with no career at all. (An example is the prodigiously talented Naomi Nari Nam.) Even with a moderately successful competitive career, a skater can end up with no job prospects in the skating world and not enough international success to become a bankable celebrity. That's when the BA degree can serve as a rescue craft for the athlete.
    U.S. gymnasts who make the national team receive a training stipend. Gymnasts who reach the elite level as well as the next level (or two) below elite can earn college scholarships as well as long as they don't turn pro. There are a number of colleges with gymnastics programs. So in a case of a college scholarship earned, in some sense the parents get a benefit (or some degree of recouping of costs) for investing in their child's training. A few athletes do a bit of coaching at the club they train at in order to earn extra money for expenses. Clubs have booster clubs and sometimes are able to get local sponsors to help cover athlete costs. Also, I am under the impression that figure skating is a bit more expensive than gymnastics (though gymnastics is still expensive).

    These athletes in Olympic sports can still go to college even if they do not earn athletic scholarships or if they go pro and don't make much money. Plenty of "regular" people don't have enough money to outright pay for college and still go through academic scholarships, grants, loans, etc.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by loop9497 View Post
    A few athletes do a bit of coaching at the club they train at in order to earn extra money for expenses.
    This is true in skating as well... if you look through the list of basic skills instructors and USFS registered coaches you will find quite a few eligible skaters listed. Often times rinks will offer their "employees" free or drastically discounted ice time, which can amount to a huge offset to expenses for a relatively small time commitment.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    That's more than I make working two jobs.
    Moi aussi!

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    See? You should take up skating.
    Ah don't give up your two jobs just in case unless somehow you can wear spandex and sequins to them of course Mathman sometimes I wonder just how good are you with finances and budgeting LOL !!!!

  8. #53
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    I think a lot depends on how you are funded. Compared to gymnastic there isn't as much support and the costs are higher. If you have really "gifted" family members paying and I mean gifted - a family income of $150,000 to $200,000 sounds great, no amazing to me but not with some of the costs of skating. Chan is over $200,000 a year and remember that is clear after tax money folks!!!! so yeah Hughes (sarah and emily) could maybe afford it as it is possible the dad was making a million a year and certainly well over $500,000 a year. Ditto for Tara's dad who was an oil executive. But it can lead to amazing debt. top athletes can do okay though. I am not sure I feel so sorry for Chan if he has money to put in a house at 22 or 23 years old and buy a used 2011 BMW ditto for Evan. Michelle became a brand and a multi millionaire because of ehr skating but she is a one time or rare wonder. Nicole Bobek was selling crafts and knick knacks. Jamie Sale served coffee. I have seen a few "ex" skaters now working at the GAP - good honest jobs but it is a struggle and they have debt or parents are in debt. You hear stories of second mortgages. It probably doesnt help that people who have kids in skating, hockey etc, then tend to travel with the kid, eat out lots, drink coffee bought from Starbucks in the cold, buy the suv to lug things around etc. Now I did or do wonder about Weir - he was seeking for financial support but his husband or wife or partner whatever is a NY lawyer - maybe he is only making $200,000?? Now I could be wrong because there is a big difference from NY to outside Ny where he might make $50,000. Or maybe he doesn't support Johnny in that way - moot now that Johnny has moved on.

  9. #54
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    I said it earlier and it bears repeating, if you have a skater, insist they stay in school and consider those choices first. Kwan was the last of an era, becoming wealthy because of figure skating. First, she was a singles skater, (I do not believe pairs or dance couples receive the same financial boom that singles champions do.) I agree with you Skater Boy though. Even if a family is in the upper echelon income level of say 200,000, once taxes are figured in, you might net what 130? If skating is roughly 90,000 AFTER TAX dollars a year, that leaves a family with 40,000 to live on. Look, as I have stated earlier, it is a choice, but it would be wonderful to have renewed interest in skating so sponsorships and funding could be there for talent. Unfortunately, despite it being a top draw for the televised Olympics, it goes back to relative obscurity after the event. I bet 99.9% of Americans would not even be able to tell you one current champion in the United Sates, and that's sad. The talent and complex abilities and innate talent and drive that it takes to succeed would astonish most people!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Skater Boy View Post
    I think a lot depends on how you are funded. Compared to gymnastic there isn't as much support and the costs are higher. If you have really "gifted" family members paying and I mean gifted - a family income of $150,000 to $200,000 sounds great, no amazing to me but not with some of the costs of skating. Chan is over $200,000 a year and remember that is clear after tax money folks!!!! so yeah Hughes (sarah and emily) could maybe afford it as it is possible the dad was making a million a year and certainly well over $500,000 a year. Ditto for Tara's dad who was an oil executive. But it can lead to amazing debt. top athletes can do okay though. I am not sure I feel so sorry for Chan if he has money to put in a house at 22 or 23 years old and buy a used 2011 BMW ditto for Evan. Michelle became a brand and a multi millionaire because of ehr skating but she is a one time or rare wonder. Nicole Bobek was selling crafts and knick knacks. Jamie Sale served coffee. I have seen a few "ex" skaters now working at the GAP - good honest jobs but it is a struggle and they have debt or parents are in debt. You hear stories of second mortgages. It probably doesnt help that people who have kids in skating, hockey etc, then tend to travel with the kid, eat out lots, drink coffee bought from Starbucks in the cold, buy the suv to lug things around etc. Now I did or do wonder about Weir - he was seeking for financial support but his husband or wife or partner whatever is a NY lawyer - maybe he is only making $200,000?? Now I could be wrong because there is a big difference from NY to outside Ny where he might make $50,000. Or maybe he doesn't support Johnny in that way - moot now that Johnny has moved on.

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