British swimmer Adam Peaty is breaking world records. And he’s making millions doing so. Peaty first reached international fame with his triumphant performance at the 2016 Olympics. He broke a world record while bringing home Britain’s first men’s swimming gold medal in 28 years.
He broke his own speed record this week at another World Championship event. Peaty specializes in the breaststroke rather than swimming multiple events. This means he’ll never catch up to swimming legends like Ian Thorpe or Michael Phelps in total medal count. But he may surpass them in bank account.
Adam Peaty: Motivated by the Money
Peaty has humble beginnings. His dad oversaw a grocery store and his mom worked in childcare. Peaty is quoted in The Guardian as saying:
“I didn’t come from a background of wealth like a lot of athletes, so I think it does motivate me a lot more than the normal athlete.”
Furthermore, Peaty recognizes that trap that many athletes fall into – not planning for the future. It’s always sad to hear all the stories of superstars ending up in bankruptcy such as Mike Tyson, Dorothy Hamill, and Warren Sapp. To avoid that fate, Peaty is planning his finances while he’s still a world champion. He said:
“I think any athlete has to think of financial security sooner or later. You don’t want to get to the end of your career when you have only just thought about that […] I want to make the best of the situation I am in for the next few years, hopefully the next 10 years.”
How Can Swimmers Capitalize on Fame?
The classic approach for Olympic athletes is to pull in corporate sponsorships. Peaty has been making money off that route for years now. His current partnership with Visa, for example, dates back to the 2016 Olympics.
He also helps sell swim trunks and promoted furniture for a British retailer, among other deals.
But Peaty has other plans to diversify his revenues. He’s become a spokesperson for the International Swimming League (ISL), which kicks off operations this year. The ISL will have eight European and American teams of swimmers, with a championship in Las Vegas. He sees the ISL as an opportunity to help swimmers make big money like other professional athletes. In an interview with Reuters, Peaty said:
“If you top that onto all the other prize money (from other events) and sponsors then, if you’re lucky enough, you’re looking at potentially millions […] For a swimmer that is a ridiculous amount.”
In any case, Adam Peaty still has a ways to go. Michael Phelps is reportedly worth $60 million, having brought in a huge chunk of money from partnerships with Visa, Under Armour, and Subway.