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Going For the Corporate Gold


For some Olympians, the real gold comes after the games.

For some top-tier Olympians, the real gold comes after the games. After the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, Michael Phelps earned over $5 million a year from endorsement deals with Speedo and Visa (V). But that's peanuts compared to what he might earn this time around.

"He may be at $30, $40, $50 million a year in endorsements after all this is said and done," said David Harrow of the National Sports Lawyers Association on

Phelps' agent said he estimates that endorsements will accumulate to $100 million for the duration of his sponsorships deals, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Companies often turn to Olympic athletes to bolster their brand recognition. Coca-Cola (KO), Visa and McDonald's (MCD) are among the top spenders for celebrity endorsements, but plenty of small companies also get in on the action. Phelps' international stardom even landed him a deal with the language software company Rosetta Stone.

Phelps isn't the only Olympian in high demand. Basketball greats Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant, gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, and Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang are already on the receiving end of multi-million dollar deals.

But what about companies who can't afford the big names? No need to worry! Fortunately, there are plenty of Olympic gold medalists out there still itching for a deal.

Join Hoofy and Boo as they take a closer look at some athletes whose endorsements won't break the bank.

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