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Sport finance


Olympian, but broke


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Winning an Olympic medal takes years of practice, and in the case of some Swiss athletes, money out of their own pockets. (SRF, swissinfo.ch)

Heidi Diethelm won a bronze medal for Switzerland in the women's 25m pistol shooting in Rio. To chase her Olympic dream, she had to put her personal finances on the line.

The competitor and mother-of-one had to quit her job two years before the Olympics and dip into her savings to survive. The CHF50,000-CHF75,000 she received in sponsoring was all earmarked for training, competitions and her team.

Mario Gyr has a similar story. He was a gold medallist in Rio in the men's coxless lightweight four rowing competition. He and his teammates didn’t seen any money until their first wins. He says that this is due to the fact that in Switzerland there is a policy of rewarding sport achievements.

A 2013 report highlighted how almost half of elite athletes in Switzerland earn around CHF14,000 a year (the poverty line in Switzerland is estimated to be CHF26,400). Fewer than 100 can actually make a living from sport.