Paralympians Strike Gold Off The Field With $16K Speaking Fees
Paralympians who "lit up" the London Games are now "household names" earning up to £10,000 ($16,000) for a speaking engagement, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Wheelchair racer David Weir and swimmer and cyclist Sarah Storey, who both won four Gold Medals at the London Games, are "among the most sought-after." Industry experts said that for the first time they are "on a par with their Olympic counterparts in terms of earning power." Public speaking agency Performing Artistes Dir JJ Jackson said, "People are calling up specifically to book Paralympians. It is a real change in tack and it means they are much closer to parity [with Olympians]." Jackson said that a gold medal winner could command a £5,000 ($8,000) fee for a 30-minute speech and some crowd mingling. Athletes with "more colourful back stories or a natural talent for public speaking" could expect to earn twice that. The Games "also created opportunities for participants who are not athletes." Marine Joe Townsend, a 24-year-old who lost both legs when a landmine exploded in Afghanistan, "gained national recognition" after he descended into the stadium on a zip line with the Paralympic torch. Jackson said that Townsend can earn £3,000 ($4,800) per appearance (LONDON TIMES, 11/27).