Professional athletes can compete in all sports, excluding wrestling, at the Rio Olympics, but the reality is many athletes wearing the Silver Fern also hold down day jobs while they're training.

Most athletes take time out from their careers to focus solely on training in the lead up to Rio, but a job and income outside of their sport is still important when Government funding isn't available, or is subject to change.

New Zealand's first medal at the Rio Games came from trap shooter Natalie Rooney. The Timaru born and raised shooter received $20,000 in funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand, which has helped on the journey to Rio.The 28-year-old also has a day job at her father's earth moving business.

Gary Rooney, a National Business Review rich-lister with an estimated $115 million in wealth, established Rooney Group 40 years ago. The company specialises in irrigation, pipe and cable laying, cartage and transportation and earth moving.

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Fellow shooter Chloe Tipple also works for her family's business, gun retail chain Gun City.

The Christchurch-based skeet shooter helps manage the Christchurch store. Her parents David and Betsy Tipple established Gun City in 1978 and the business has been in the family ever since.

This is the first Olympics Tipple has competed at and she has been preparing for the Games at a semi-professional level.

Shay Neal is a Black Stick as well as a lawyer. Photo / Nick Reed
Shay Neal is a Black Stick as well as a lawyer. Photo / Nick Reed

When hockey player Shay Neal isn't wearing the black jersey and representing his country he is a lawyer.

Neal has worked for top legal firm Meredith Cornell and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court in 2014.

Originally from Whangarei, Neal studied law while playing for the Black Sticks and in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Rio will be his first Olympic Games.

The goalie for the women's Black Sticks Sally Rutherford might be the highest educated Olympian on the New Zealand squad.

The 35-year-old has played more than 100 games in the cage for the Black Sticks while completing a PhD in physiology and bioengineering at the University of Auckland.

Natasha Hansen is an air traffic controller at Hamilton Airport when she's not training full-time in sprint cycling. Photo / Dianne Manson
Natasha Hansen is an air traffic controller at Hamilton Airport when she's not training full-time in sprint cycling. Photo / Dianne Manson

Sprint cyclist Natasha Hansen took time out from her day job as an air traffic controller at Hamilton Airport to prepare for Rio.

The cyclist had to take a break from monitoring the skies to train every day at the Avantidrome in Cambridge to get the best out of her preparations for the Games.

Rio will be the second Olympics Hansen has competed at in the women's sprint and the keirin.