Once upon a time long long ago, I had a boyfriend who I met when I was working at a fencing tournament. Peter Westbrook, half Japanese mom/half black military dad was the first black to win US fencing awards all the way to the Olympics. As an adult, he has gone on to found one of the top fencing schools in the world in NYC. He did this mainly on his own (not via the US Olympic Committee efforts) and is a shining example of hard work, intelligence and focus on a goal, a fine man but the IOC isn’t run by fine people, it is run by looters bent on stealing most of the money for themselves, giving themselves huge salaries to go to expensive meetings all over kingdom come exactly like the global warming hysterics who run around in private jets, yachts and living in palaces while screaming we are all going to roast to death. To hell with both groups which have heavy overlap, by the way. And bravo to Peter Westbrook!
The Peter Westbrook Foundation: go here to see pictures of this year’s kids. Lovely!
But by the time that flood of cash flows through the Movement and reaches the athletes, barely a trickle remains, often a few thousand dollars at most. For members of Team USA — many of whom live meagerly off the largesse of friends and family, charity, and public assistance — the biggest tangible reward they’ll receive for making it to Rio will be two suitcases full of free Nike and Ralph Lauren clothing they are required to wear at all team events.
Yes. they are exploited. We do see ads with Olympic people peddling all kinds of stuff but stipends to really take care of them? Nope. The Olympic committee likes to do lots and lots of fundraising and corporations want their logos all over kingdom come but very little of this ends up helping the actual people who are doing the actual work. They are treated exactly like the workers at fast food joints and other capitalist operations. Cheap labor.
The picture that emerges is a multibillion-dollar entertainment industry whose entertainers are, in this country, often expected to raise their own income or live in poverty. There is no comprehensive data on U.S. Olympic athlete pay, but information collected by a nonprofit last year from 150 track and field athletes ranked in the top 10 in the country in their events found an average income of $16,553. Even USOC officials concede that, with the exceptions of the handful of megastars such as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte who rake in big endorsement money and those who play sports with lucrative professional leagues, most U.S. Olympic athletes cannot earn enough from their sports to make a living.
I know somewhat about all this! Peter, a fine man, a dynamic person who tries his hardest at all times, he went to Wall Street to make money while sabre fighting on the side and even with that division of his time, still won medals at the Olympics and was on the USA team for many years. But it was a huge sacrifice on his part. He did manage to begin the process of raising money from rich people in Manhattan over the years and used this to start his school which puts up more USA Olympic fencing team members than any other single place. Bravo!
He also knows that his students should get better support because they can’t win unless they work many hours at it and if Peter had more ‘free time’ I am certain he would have won more medals including the gold medals. His intelligence coupled with his dedication is something to be emulated and admired but then, he also could see how athletes are being exploited by businesses so they can make some money and this is a shame. And it still starves athletes who are in the less prominent sports. Now on to the looting expeditions in the Olympic brass:
USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus makes $854,000, and national swim team director Frank Busch makes $346,000; their swimmers competing in Rio next month can make monthly stipends that cap at $42,000 per year. USA Triathlon CEO Rob Urbach makes $362,000 while Team USA triathletes compete for stipends that range from about $20,000 to $40,000 a year. The coach of the USA Rowing women’s team makes $237,000 while his rowers vie for stipends that max out at about $20,000 per year. (U.S. Olympic athletes are given an additional stipend if they win a gold, silver or bronze medal.)
“You have to look back at where the Olympic Movement came from. It was an amateur-based movement. Nobody got compensated,” said Blackmun, who made about $1 million in 2014, tax records show.
So…most of the loot goes to the guys standing on the sidelines!!! They get massive amounts while the people doing the work, the blood, sweat and tears get nearly nothing. This is a form of slavery. I see on TV all the time some lovely black female athletes peddling stuff for women and this is so embarrassing. I feel for them all. White chicks this year are getting very little at all. This is not ‘look, they are benefitting’ this is stealing their efforts to make money for rich executives.
“It’s not a for-profit movement. Nobody in suits is getting paid for this beyond what you have to pay people to raise all the money we have to raise. . . . We are in good faith trying to maximize the level of support we can provide to our athletes. I wish we had the resources to support more athletes.”…
So says the clowns looting the athletes so ruthlessly. Like our schools which give massive amounts of money for the administrators and nearly nothing for professors and teachers, this dual system requires the rest of us to feed more and more money into and voila: it STILL doesn’t reach the staff, it all glides to the very top 1% who run the joint.
At the very top of “the Movement” sits the International Olympic Committee, a nonprofit run by a “volunteer” president who gets an annual “allowance” of $251,000 and lives rent-free in a five-star hotel and spa in Switzerland.
They park the loot in Swiss banks.
At the very bottom of “the Movement” — beneath the IOC members who travel first-class and get paid thousands of dollars just to attend the Olympics, beneath the executives who make hundreds of thousands to organize the Games, beneath the international sports federations, the national sport federations and the national Olympic committees and all of their employees — are the actual athletes whose moments of triumph and pain will flicker on television screens around the globe starting Friday…
For Bach, a former lawyer and Olympic fencer from Germany, the IOC provides an annual “allowance” of about 225,000 Euros ($251,000) and pays for his suite at the Lausanne Palace & Spa, “an exceptional place of refinement” that offers “a superb view across Lake Geneva to the Alps,” according to its website. It’s unclear which type of suite Bach stays in, or whether the IOC gets a discount, but the Palace recently priced its cheapest suite at $1,068 per night, or just shy of $390,000 for an entire year.
IOC members — a distinguished group that includes royalty (Prince Albert II of Monaco, Henri the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark) and successful business executives (former Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst) — also enjoy generous perks. When on IOC business, members fly first-class, stay in luxury hotels, and also get cash per diems: $450 per day for regular IOC members, $900 per day for the IOC’s executive committee.
These rates also apply to the Games themselves, which means in Rio, some IOC members will get paid more to watch the Olympics ($7,650, depending on travel schedules) than many Team USA athletes will get paid to compete in the Olympics. (USA Track and Field provides athletes $10,000 bonuses and USA Gymnastics awards $5,000 bonuses for making Team USA, but most other sport federations don’t. Athlete travel, lodging and food is covered by the USOC.)
The Grand Duke needs loot!!! Poor baby! The Crown Prince can’t be housed and fed like peasants!!! And rich CEOs who have billions of dollars should pay any of their own damn bills, either. The Executive committee grants themselves nearly one thousand dollars a DAY for the strenuous effort of lifting a fork and wine glass. On top of top hotels and private jets, etc. they are coddled. Off with their heads, I say.
I am very pleased that Peter managed to do so many wonderful things despite this despicable system and I wish he ran the IOC, not the clowns looting everything for themselves. One could dream.
209 Greenhollow Rd
Petersburgh, NY 12138
Make checks out to ‘Elaine Supkis’
Click on the Pegasus icon on the right sidebar to donate via Paypal.