Olympics fans have been riding on a Michael Phelps wave since he began winning his eight gold medals in Beijing and breaking world records. But sporting the gold isn't a new thing for Phelps — he won six medals in Athens four years ago, and has been collecting about $5 million a year in endorsement checks from VISA after that impressive, teenage performance.
The 23-year-old Phelps has proven his talents have gotten better with more experience and advertisers are now paying even more attention. David Harrow of the National Sports Lawyers Association predicts "he may be at $30, $40, $50 million a year in endorsements after all this is said and done." It may not be $87 million like Tiger Woods, but I could definitely think of a thing or two to do with that kind of cash flow.
Phelps has made his mom and America proud and inspired young swimmers worldwide to believe in their sport. His medals and flush endorsement deals show that hard work (and a swimmers body) can pay off big-time.