More than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations will participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Most Olympians scrape by through a combination of small sponsorships, minimal stipends from the national governing bodies for their sports and part-time jobs. That is the reality for the vast majority of Olympic athletes, who ply their trade in sports the general public only pays attention to every four years when the Games roll around.
And then there are these guys. They travel by private jet and are the rock stars of global sports, with billions of dollars at stake. The 20 highest-paid Olympians earned $448 million collectively over the past 12 months. They are almost entirely made up of basketball stars with eight-figure salaries and tennis pros armed with fistfuls of multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals.
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