This week’s video is the last in the “What makes an Olympic rower” series – you can see the previous two videos here and here. The rower in this video talks about what training was like for a 2012 Olympian. Obviously the training they do and their nutrition is wildly better than what those from 1908 and 1948 had but something I didn’t know was that all the athletes are expected to have their own single that they purchase using the money they get from lottery funding. I know the US athletes get a small stipend but it’s puny … less than $1000/month and less than $500/month for those who haven’t won a medal. Definitely not something you could go out and by a top-of-the-line single with.
The UK team by comparison is fully funded by the government and had a $43 million budget for the 2012 Olympics compared to USRowing’s $3.5 million, meaning it’s unlikely their athletes needed to have a job (let alone a full-time salaried job with a part-time job on the side) to pay the bills while training. This article from Fortune magazine does a good job of explaining the finances of USRowing to give you a sense of how it all works.