This story was originally posted on 13 April 2019 and has been re-published an 23 April 2020.
The Olympic Games generate substantial revenues almost unparalleled across the sporting world. In total, through the sale of broadcasting and marketing rights, as well as other income streams, the revenue for the Olympiad that spans 2013 to 2016, covering the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and the Olympic Games Rio 2016, was USD 5.7 billion.
Ninety per cent distributed to sport and athlete development across the globe
Because the IOC is a non-profit organisation, 90 per cent of the revenues from the Games go straight back into sport and athlete development. In total, around USD 2.5 billion is put towards the staging of the Olympic Games, to ease the financial burden on the host cities. From Athens 2004 to Rio 2016 (Summer Games), and from Salt Lake City 2002 to PyeongChang 2018, the IOC has increased its contribution towards the success of the Games by 60 per cent, allocating a total of USD 1.53 billion for Rio 2016 and USD 887 million for PyeongChang 2018. A considerable sum is also put towards the cost of staging the Youth Olympic Games every two years.
Fifty per cent of WADA’s budget comes from the IOC
As laid out in the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, supporting athletes is at the heart of the Olympic Movement. This is done during the Olympic Games, through the whole Games-time experience for athletes, the Olympic Village, travel grants and all the support athletes receive throughout the 17 days of competition. But beyond the Games, the IOC’s funds are also used to finance the network of athletes’ commissions across the globe which promotes the empowerment of athletes and enables their voices to be heard. Protecting clean athletes is extremely important to the IOC, and therefore substantial investment is made in the anti-doping ecosystem, with 50 per cent of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s funding coming directly from the IOC, while the other 50 per cent comes from the governments of the world.
More than USD 500 million for Olympic Solidarity
The IOC also aims to make success at the Games achievable by everyone, and so, every Olympic cycle, a substantial portion of the profits from the Games is allocated through the National Olympic Committees directly to helping athletes and coaches from countries with the greatest financial need, as part of the Olympic Solidarity programme. This is particularly vital in the modern sporting world, in which talent and determination alone are not enough to reach the top. High-level coaching, preparation and the ability to travel to competitions are also required.
Because of this, as part of the latest Olympic Solidarity Plan – which runs from 2017 to 2020 – more than half a billion dollars is being spent on various global and continental programmes going towards athlete development and coaches’ education to make the Olympic Games more accessible across the globe. Part of this money is used to fund the Olympic scholarship programmes, which provide athletes in need with a monthly training grant as well as travel subsidies to compete in Olympic qualification competitions. In addition, for athletes to progress they also need expert coaching. Between 2012 and 2016, coaches from 172 NOCs had the opportunity to take part in a total of 988 expert technical courses, with 641 coaches receiving scholarships to further their coaching skills and education.
Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holders won 101 medals at Rio 2016
In the run-up to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Olympic Solidarity supported over 20,000 athletes from youth to elite across various assistance programmes, in which 815 Olympic scholarship-holders representing 171 NOCs and 22 sports participated for Rio 2016. They won a total of 101 medals (33 gold, 26 silver and 42 bronze). This included two NOCs winning their first ever Olympic medal and two NOCs winning their first ever Olympic gold medal.
Olympic scholarships for 523 athletes from 89 NOCs prior to PyeongChang 2018
But it is not just about the medals. Olympic Solidarity looks to ensure that athletes from as many parts of the world as possible are able to participate in the Games. A case in point is Alpine skier Albin Tahiri, Kosovo’s sole representative for its Olympic Winter Games debut at PyeongChang 2018, who was able to qualify for and reach the Games with the aid of an Olympic scholarship. Tahiri went on to compete in all five Alpine skiing events at the Games, with a best finish of 37th in the Alpine combined. Prior to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Olympic Solidarity allocated scholarships to 523 athletes from 89 NOCs (435 individual scholarships plus 88 tailor-made).
Support for refugee athletes
In addition, following the success of the Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016, the IOC launched a new Refugee Athlete Support programme, which provides NOCs with resources to support a number of refugee athletes living in their countries and allow them to prepare for and compete in international competitions. This pool of refugee athletes will serve as a basis for the selection of the Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020.
Athletes’ Career Transition programme prioritised
But the IOC support to athletes does not end with the Games. As part of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC pledges to support athletes beyond the competition arena, and in its 2017-2020 Olympic Solidarity Plan saw the introduction of support to the NOCs to benefit fully from the Athletes’ Career Transition programme. This programme offers athletes at various stages of their careers assistance in terms of funding and career advice. In November 2017, the IOC announced the launch of Athlete365, a dedicated brand to support the world’s Olympic-level athlete community. This is provided through a centralised digital hub, and physical outreach during Games time through the Village’s Athlete365 space, as well as before and after the Games through International Federations and NOCs.
Olympic Channel promotes athletes and their sports 24/7 and 365 days a year
Ensuring that stories of athletes continue to inspire fans outside of Games time, the Olympic Channel provides a media destination for athletes to tell their stories, engage with the Olympic Movement and connect their fans and followers to their Olympic journey all year round.
By placing athletes at the heart of its programming through content inspired by the Olympic values, the Olympic Channel is bringing much deserved attention to Olympians and Olympic hopefuls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Through original programming, news, live events and social media, athletes from around the world and from every discipline are featured on the Olympic Channel. The Olympic Channel is able to offer these assets, such as video embeds and social media videos, directly to athletes to use across their personal digital platforms.