Not all professional figure skaters earn hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Skating is not one of the most lucrative athletic professions, either. Depending on their talents, opportunities for work and employers, their salaries can vary dramatically. Many professional skaters coach other skaters in their efforts to win competitions. Depending on whom they coach, the quality of students they have produced and other factors, the rates they can charge will vary.
The most famous professional figure skaters can earn hundreds of thousands or millions a year through advertising contracts. They give their names and faces to companies to use in their advertisements, and they earn a profit from their sponsorships. Organizations from around the world ask them to participate in shows and to make public appearances where they earn money, too. However, only the best and most talented are invited to participate in such opportunities where the salaries are high on a regular basis. Coaching is one of the more common ways pros make money.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics put the average salary of an athlete in the United States as of May 2010 at $87,340 per year, although the range is from about $17,120 in the 10th percentile to over $100,000 per year in the 90th percentile. (See Reference 7.) The salary of an athletic coach averaged $35,950, and ranged from about $16,380 to $63,720 in the 90th percentile. (See Reference 8.) Although these figures are not specific to figure skating, they give a general idea of the wide range of salary a professional figure skater can expect to earn.
A 2007 interview with professional figure skater, Alex Macock, who skated for the Disney on Ice show at that time, by Alex McRae in the British “The Independent” newspaper indicated that new skaters to the show could earn between about £300 to £500 per week. (See Reference 2.) Given the exchange rate on June 14, 2011, according to X-Rates.com, this is about $491.99 to $819.98 per week.
Johnny Weir, a professional figure skater, held a conference call in 2009, on which LifeSkate.com reported. He discussed the typical expenses a professional figure skater incurs. Figure skaters have to pay their coaches, for ice time and for costumes themselves. This can add up to a large chunk of whatever salary they earn. He mentioned that what skaters spend on their trade each year could add up to more than many people’s annual salaries.
While under U.S. Figure Skating Association rules, coaches can sometimes participate in certain competitions, they may choose not to compete when they coach. (See Reference 4.) Coaches teaching new students, for example, may charge, in general, $18-$20 per 20-minute lesson, according to the Georgia Figures Skating Club website as of June 2011. (See Reference 4.) The Wooster Figure Skating Club in Wooster, Oh., for example, lists coaches' rates on its website as being between $8.50 and $14 per 15-minute lesson as of June 2011. (See Reference 6.)
- LifeSkate.com; Johnny Weir: Economic woes of being a figure skater (part 3 of 4); Susan Chun; Jan. 2009
- The Independent; I Want Your Job: Ice Skater; Alex McRae; Oct. 2007
- X-Rates.com; Calculator; 2011
- U.S. Figure Skating Association; Coaches - Frequently Asked Questions; 2010
- Georgia Figure Skating Club: New to Figure Skating?
- Wooster Figure Skating Club: Club Coaches
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images