Highest-paid athletes at Rio Olympics

United States' Kevin Durant was paid $78.8 million in salary and sponsorship deals. Photo / AP
United States' Kevin Durant was paid $78.8 million in salary and sponsorship deals. Photo / AP

More than 11,000 athletes are competing at the Rio Olympics, but some are better rewarded for their efforts than others.

Forbes has crunched the numbers on which athletes are soaring above their peers when it comes to financial reward for their hard work.

Professionals across every sport, except wrestling, can now compete at the Olympics.

Sportsmen and sportswomen who struggle to hold down a job while training to make their dream to compete at the Olympics a reality will come up against global stars at Rio.

Forbes reports there are 14 athletes competing in five sports at Rio who made more than $25 million (US$18m) between June 2015 and June 2016.

Kevin Durant and Novak Djokovic are chasing gold this month and they earned more than $210,000 per day over the last 12 months.

1. Kevin Durant

NBA superstar Kevin Durant leads the pack. The former teammate of Steven Adams at the Oklahoma City Thunder had an income of $78.8m last year. Durant won an Olympic gold in London with the US men's national team.

Novak Djokovic is the second highest paid sports star to compete at Rio Olympics, although he was defeated in the first round of tennis. Photo / AP
Novak Djokovic is the second highest paid sports star to compete at Rio Olympics, although he was defeated in the first round of tennis. Photo / AP

2. Novak Djokovic

The number one men's tennis player in the world made $78.2m last year. Djokovic's prize money of $30m contributed to his wealth. He suffered a shock first round defeat to Juan Martin del Potro last night.

3= Neymar

Brazil's Neymar is the superstar of the Rio Games. Photo / AP
Brazil's Neymar is the superstar of the Rio Games. Photo / AP

The hometown hero is playing at Rio on the back of earning $52.6m last year. His salary with football club Barcelona is $20.3m. The Brazil football team is the favourite to win gold this year, despite never having won gold at any Olympics.

3= Rafael Nadal

Nadal's total income of $52.6m was made up mostly of sponsorship deals as his winnings brought in $7.7m Nadal has not played a tournament in two months due to injuries, but is hopeful of winning a medal at Rio. He won gold eight years ago at Beijing, but missed London Olympics due to injury.

5. Kei Nishikori

Japanese tennis ace Kei Nishikori rounds out the top five with an income of $47m, with $4.9m of the total being prize money. Nishikori had one of the must-see moments in the first round of tennis when he dropped his racket mid-set and picked it up again to win the point. He is expected to be one of the faces of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

- NZ Herald

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