For a lot of people, being an Olympic athlete sounds like a dream come true. You get to travel the world, competing against the best of the best. You have the opportunity to get cheered on by entire nations while the whole world watches. However, most athletes are more than just athletes: they're also famous people with day jobs. Of course, most of them are only famous for two weeks every four years.
While playing professional basketball, baseball, hockey, football, or some other major professional sport might be highly lucrative, being a triathlete is much less so. Some Olympic athletes can get by solely on the incomes they make from playing their sport, but many cannot. A high number of the athletes you'll see on TV later this year hold normal and sometimes mundane jobs when they're not busy training to become better than the best.
In Sochi in 2014, there were dozens of athletes who went back home after two weeks of stardom and resumed their normal jobs. The same will be true of many of the athletes at this year's summer games. After two weeks of grueling and rewarding play in Rio, all of the Olympians with day jobs will have to check back into reality.
Check out this list of some of the world's top athletes who also happen to have day jobs.
Fencer Jason Pryor Works at Dick's Sporting Goods
American fencer Jason Pryor is the number one épée fencer in the US. But if you're in need of discount sporting goods near Astoria, Queens, Pryor can help you out: he is also an employee of Dick's Sporting Goods. Pryor is one of many athletes participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio working at Dick's to pay the rent, thanks to a nationwide sponsorship deal Dick's struck with the US Olympic Committee in early 2015.
As many as 200 athletes such as Pryor are using their expertise to sell sporting goods and pay their way to South America. Pryor says Dick's is "mad flexible" with training times and other Olympic preparation, and it's a good thing, too: Pryor really needs the gig. He "went for broke," literally, by spending all of his money on his Olympic dreams and moving into an apartment with several friends.
Kayaker Kazuki Yazawa Is a Monk
Japanese kayaker Kazuki Yazawa is probably the only full-time Buddhist monk participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Yazawa has a pretty strict daily routine: he wakes up at dawn at the Daikanjin temple in Nagano Prefecture, puts on his monastic robe, prays five times throughout the day, and then he trains for 90 minutes after finishing his duties. Yazawa finished ninth at the 2012 games in London, but that was before he became a monk. His time at the temple could prove to be the competitive edge he needs.
Rugby Player Nathalie Marchino Works at Twitter
According to ESPN, Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have more in common than just being world-conquering tech behemoths: they also all don't have a single employee competing in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. But Twitter, on the other hand, has Nathalie Marchino.
Marchino has been "juggling work and rugby" for years but hopes it will all pay off this summer when she plays for the Colombian team in Rio. Twitter was nice enough to allow her to take a five-month leave of absence for the games (no pay, but she'll keep her healthcare). In September, she'll return to her role as a sales account manager, hopefully with a big gold medal around her neck.
Fencer Daryl Homer Works in Advertising
While other Olympic athletes may struggle to pay their way to Rio, American fencer Daryl Homer is excelling at his job at a SoHo marketing agency while simultaneously training for the games. The agency is called Anomaly, and it's no small-time operation: they represent the likes of Dick's Sporting Goods, Nike, Converse, Budweiser, Procter and Gamble, and Johnnie Walker. “I was on the Budweiser account, pulling sixty-hour weeks, fencing at night,” he told The New Yorker. The agency calls him their "athlete-in-residence" and gives him plenty of flexibility to train. Homer is favored to become the first American man in history to win an Olympic gold medal in fencing.