American sprint legend Michael Johnson has spoken of his surprise at the lack of track stars on the list of highest-paid female athletes in 2023
Former 200m and 400m world and Olympic record holder Michael Johnson is saddened by the lack of track stars on the list of highest-paid female athletes in 2023.
Athletics stars were missing yet again as the list of female athletes who banked the most money in 2023 was unveiled this week with nine tennis players out of the top 15.
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Tennis star Coco Gauff took first position after raking in $22.7 million this year with only skier Eileen Gu, third on the list with $20 million, the only athlete outside tennis that made it to the top eight.
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“Still baffles me we can’t get a track athlete on this list. Unlike the mean [men] side, all the highest paid female athletes are individual sport athletes,” Johnson posted on social media.
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Iga Swiątek, second on the list with 29.1 million, is joined by fellow tennis players Emma Raducanu ($16.2 million), Naomi Osaka ($15 million), Aryna Sabalenka ($12.2 million), Elena Rybakina ($9.5 million) and Jessica Pegula ($9 million) in the top eight.
American gymnast Simone Biles ($8.5 million), golfer Nelly Korda ($7.9 million), footballers Alex Morgan ($6.9 million) and Megan Rapinoe ($6.8 million) as well as skier Mikaela Shiffrin ($6.1 million) also made the top 15 list that also has tennis stars Leylah Fernandez ($6.1 million) and Ons Jabeur ($5.7 million).
Johnson’s concern was shared by world 100m and 200m champion Noah Lyles who believes track stars have no chance based on current circumstances.
“I don’t think we have anyone in our sport that can be on this list,” Lyles said in response to Johnson’s post.
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Johnson’s sentiments come just three days after he advised prominent athletes to lead from the front if they have to change the status of athletics and earn more from it.
The sprint legend, who has been vocal about the ‘low amounts’ athletes earn from various events, shared how he had to ensure he banked what he deserved against strong resistance and thinks athletes are currently getting the short end of the stick because they do not speak out strongly.
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Despite possessing superstars like Lyles, Sha’Carri Richardson, Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon, track and field stars have failed to nail a place on the top-earning athletes’ list since the retirement of Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt who was a huge draw for global brands.