Olympian priorities: Gold or green?

  • Photo 1 of 4

    Jamie laces up for a workout.

    - Vigeland

  • Photo 2 of 4

    Monday morning at the office.

    - Vigeland

  • Photo 3 of 4

    Jamie warms up with some jumps in the 6-and-a-half-foot range.

    - Vigeland

  • Photo 4 of 4

    Jamie will be hoping to make it look this easy in London.

    - Vigeland

We all know the games are about competition, athletic achievement, adversity overcome, life goals attained. But it's also about whether you'll capture enough attention to turn gold medals into gold coin -- or at least enough coin to defray the upfront costs of all that effort.

Tess Vigeland visited the U.S. Olympics Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. We talked to high jumper Jamie Nieto about what sacrifices he's had to make to chase his gold medal dreams.

Take a listen to the audio above for Nieto's frank insight on the finances of being an elite athlete.

PS: So how'd he do at the trials? Well, at the ripe age of 35, he became the oldest man to qualify for the Olympic high jump team, clearing seven feet, five and three-quarter inches. First place. So keep an eye out for him when the track and field events begin on Aug. 3.

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation