A Washington Post examination of the Olympic Movement published last week showed how, for the most part, being a bureaucrat who helps run the Olympics is far more lucrative than being a world-class athlete competing in the Olympics. That disparity could be on display during tonight’s Opening Ceremonies in Rio if, after Team USA enters Maracana Stadium in their spiffy Ralph Lauren threads, NBC’s cameras happen to pan over to show any of the IOC members in attendance.
With the exceptions of USA Track and Field athletes ($10,000 bonuses) and USA Gymnastics athletes ($5,000 bonuses), many American Olympians do not get paid for making it to Rio. The U.S. Olympic Committee covers their travel, lodging and food, and provides each of America’s Olympians with two suitcases full of free Ralph Lauren and Nike clothing, which they are required to wear at all Team USA events as part of USOC sponsorship deals. (The USOC does give bonuses to athletes who win medals: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.)
But for members of the IOC, their stays in Brazil this month come with a nice guaranteed bonus. The IOC will cover their first-class flights to Rio and their hotel bills at the luxurious Windsor Marapendi, and also will offer $450 daily per diems, or $7,650 for any members who arrive in Rio today and stay through the Aug. 21 Closing Ceremonies. (IOC members who arrived early and leave late could collect even more; according to his Twitter account, Prince Albert has been in Rio since at least Thursday.)
So while American Olympians such as boxer Claressa Shields (who needs to solicit donations via gofundme to keep her bills paid while she trains) could leave Rio empty-handed unless they win medals, Albert II — a former Olympic bobsledder and IOC member since 1985 — and these other IOC royals can cash in while watching the Games:
Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Henri is eldest son of Grand Duke Jean and Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium, and a first cousin of the current King of the Belgians, Philippe. According to the website royalforums.com, Henri has been in Rio since at least Thursday. He was never an Olympian, according to his IOC profile, but Henri has dabbled in sports including sailing, swimming, water-skiing and tennis. He’s been an IOC member since 1998.
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. Also never an Olympic athlete, Frederik was elected to the IOC in 2009 and his sporting interests include sailing, swimming, tennis and triathlon. According to the Daily Mail Australia, Frederik and his wife, Crown Princess Mary have been in Rio since Tuesday. The Olympics has a special significance to the royal couple, as it was at the 2000 Games in Australia that Frederik — then just an Olympic fan, not yet an IOC member — met Mary at a pub in Sydney. As the Daily Mail put it: “the loved-up pair … have attended every Olympics since.”
Princess Anne, the daughter of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Rio on Tuesday, according to the website Royal Central. An equestrian athlete, Anne competed in the 1976 Games in Montreal, where she rode the Queen’s horse, Goodwill, and was elected to the IOC in 1988. It’s been an active few days in Rio for Princess Anne, who spoke out defending the World Anti-Doping Agency’s handling of the Russian doping scandal, and then almost got poked in the face by the Union Jack during the British Olympic Team photo. (Tennis star Andy Murray had trouble holding the flag.)
Other royalty on the IOC whose attendance in Rio has not been confirmed as of yet include Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, and Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan.