Million Dollar Smiles

In the usual round of annual media summaries on what those sportspersons are receiving it was announced, that Susan O'Neill has joined the million dollar league with a reputed $1.2 million from sponsorships and grants in 1998. Susan was married to Dr Cliff Fairleigh in October after he amazing record breaking successes in the Commonwealth Games.

Kieren Perkins has dropped under the million dollar category for the first time since his heydays, with an income of $990,000.

While Michael Klim is probably leading the charge in the remainder of the field with an impressive portfolio of national and international companies, no annual figure has been published.

Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Geoff Huegill are obviously doing very well and won't have to go cap in hand to Mum and Dad for pocket money anymore.

Australian swimmers are supported(carded) by the federation and the Australian Sports Commission with grants ranging from $12,000 down to $2,000 for world rankings from 1 to 60.

In addition the Australian Olympic Committee provides a generous incentive scheme based on medal and fourth place results at international meets for each event in which a swimmer is successful at that level, based on the scale below.

With the World Championships and Commonwealth Games in 1998 the top of the Aussie pile has done very well. No wonder the Australian swimmers are in there training as full time professional athletes to achieve at the highest level. Fortunately the Australian Tax Office treats world class athletes realistically with opportunities to amortise incomes over a number of years. Sports Commission Grants are tax free.


Gold $35,000
Silver $21,000
Bronze $10,500
Fourth $9,000


Gold $40,000
Silver $24,000
Bronze $12,000
Fourth $10,000


Gold $45,000
Silver $27,000
Bronze $13,500
Fourth $10,000