— Published 5 May 2023

For the IOC, athletes are worth their weight in gold

The IOC likes to repeat it in all tones and in all languages: most of its immense wealth (7.6 billion in revenue for the period 2017/2020-21) is given to the Olympic movement. Not less than 90%.

A veritable fountain of greenbacks, whose flow never seems to slow down. Still according to official figures, the body would thus flood sports organizations and athletes with the equivalent of 4.2 million dollars per day. Happy Olympic movement.

At the top of the list of beneficiaries of this financial manna: the athletes. The IOC accompanies them in their course, their daily life and their preparation with ways of patronage. On Thursday, May 4, the Olympic body provided proof of this during a round table with some media, dedicated to the support of athletes of the summer and winter Games. It has spread out its figures. They are impressive.

For the current Olympiad (2021-2024), the budget of the Olympic Solidarity was raised to 590 million dollars, in increase of 25 % compared to the previous exercise. It benefits, directly or indirectly, about 25,000 athletes around the world, from the lowest rungs of the pyramid to the most elite athletes.

For the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, 1,836 athletes from 186 countries benefited from an IOC scholarship through Olympic Solidarity. No less than 827 of them, representing 178 nations, participated in the event. They won 113 medals, including 30 gold.

So much for the money. The direct help. The bank account. The rest is the same. With its Athletes’ Commission as its armed wing, the IOC has built a system of assistance and support in which the athlete is treated as a precious asset.

Since the beginning of the Olympiad, its training program has been followed by 46,606 athletes. A total of 82,184 modules have been successfully completed. The first age group concerned: 18-34 year olds (71%).

Less visible, and more unexpected: an IOC assistance to verify accounts on social networks. The body explains that it has recorded more than 2,000 requests from athletes. The vast majority (1,604) were forwarded to Meta, the American giant that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Kaveh Mehrabi, the IOC’s director of the athletes’ department, explained it to FrancsJeux: “Some athletes were waiting several months, sometimes up to two years, for their accounts to be verified. By going through us, they save precious time and are sure to succeed.

Very trendy: the IOC is accompanied in its effort to support athletes by some of its global partners, the members of its TOP program. The modern version of sponsorship, virtuous and responsible in addition to being simply financial.

Examples: Airbnb and Allianz. The American platform for renting accommodation between individuals, and the German insurance group, two of the latest entrants in the TOP program, have developed their own support system for athletes. And they are making it known.

Airbnb had the novel idea of offering Olympic and Paralympic athletes the opportunity to supplement their income by joining the crowd of renters registered on the platform. Since the beginning of the current Olympiad, 1 821 athletes have tried their luck. Result: more than one million dollars of income generated by the program. Bingo.

As a bonus, the American platform distributes travel vouchers worth $ 2 000, supposed to support financially the athletes in their preparation for the Olympic Games. She had granted 500 last year. For 2023, it multiplied the number by two.

Less concrete, the initiative of the Allianz group wants also less immediate. It consists of a series of conferences on the post-career, intended to provide athletes with all the keys to succeed in their transition to the corporate world. To date, 180 athletes from 57 countries have participated in the program.