It takes great speed, strength, agility and technique to succeed as a competitive track and field long jumper. You may spend many hours training, traveling and practicing, but statistics show that discipline and hard work can certainly pay off. At the time of publication, some track and field professionals are earning six-figure salaries and full college scholarships.
In May 2010, the mean annual wage for athletes and sports competitors was $87,340, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest reported earnings in the 10th percentile of athletes surveyed was $17,120 annually. The 75th percentile earned $106,060 per year. The highest earnings in the 90th percentile were at least $80 per hour, or $166,400 annually. The 50 percent median of all athletes surveyed during the reporting period earned about $43,740 per year.
The type of atmosphere in which one trains and competes can make a significant difference in a professional athlete's salary. For instance, the BLS reports that athletes affiliated with civic and social organizations, colleges, universities and professional schools earned between $57,210 and $59,540 per year in 2010. Athletes involved in spectator sports almost doubled those amounts, bringing home close to $104,470 annually.
The differences in professional athlete salaries corresponding to geographical locations in May 2010 was dramatic, according to the BLS. The lowest reported salaries were in Boise City and Nampa, Idaho, where competitive athletes earned a mere $21,870 per year. Remarkably, athletes training and residing in metropolitan areas of Detroit, Livonia and Dearborn, Michigan, earned $197,540 annually, about nine times more.
Equal opportunities in the workplace are definitely not an issue for female track and field professionals and long jumpers. Insider Higher Ed reports, that women in the field can potentially earn between $150,000 and $200,000 a year, plus performance bonuses. Tennessee long-jumper, Tianna Madison, was offered $60,000 in prize money in 2005 for winning the World Championships but turned it down for a better offer from Nike.
Monica Cabbler, former NCAA All-American competitor in the triple and long jump at the University of Georgia, says, "We have to seek additional sponsorships from companies of all industries in order to make it financially possible to achieve our Olympic Dreams." According to Cabbler, female track and field athletes can earn anywhere from $90,000 to $200,000 per year.
Many professional athletes ofter rely on corporate product endorsements to support their careers, finance education and supplement their incomes. In some extraordinary instances, endorsements can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a track and field long jumper. For example, in 2002, track athlete Alan Webb signed a contract with Nike entitling him to close to $250,000 a year for six years, according to Inside Higher Ed. Additionally, he received incentive bonuses and full college tuition to the University of Michigan. Even his personal training coach received a bonus from Nike.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images