How much does it cost to become an Olympian?

You Too Can Go For Olympic Gold (in Tokyo 2020)

It may be too late to be selected for Team GB in Rio 2016 but new research has shown how almost anyone could become a future Olympian – with a lot of training and more than a little cash.

The study by money saving website has revealed exactly what it would take for an average person to take up a new Olympic sport and reach world class level in just four years.

Researchers looked at the time and money investment required to master a wide variety of Olympic disciples in time for Tokyo 2020.

They researched the costs of hiring Olympic level coaches for one on one sessions and researched gyms and trainers across the UK to get an accurate insight into the number of hours it might take a person with average fitness levels to gain Olympic level competence.

They found that aspiring Olympians train for an average of five and a half hours per day, six days a week. But the vast differences of hiring world-class coaches and buying equipment across different sporting disciplines led to some huge differences in the cost of achieving that elusive Olympic dream.

Sport Hours required Total Cost over 4 years
Archery 6240 £156,000
Boxing 7488 £299,520
Triathlon 5200 £322,400
Badminton 6656 £155,418
Judo 6864 £79,373
Weightlifting 5720 £273,000
Equestrian 6240 £468,000

Perhaps surprisingly Voucherbox found that triathlon was the quickest discipline to master – requiring an average time investment of just 5200 hours over the next four years or 25 hours of training each and every week.

Would be triathletes also need deep pockets with a total investment of £322,400 required to have any real chance of making the podium in Tokyo.

Yet that looks like a snip compared to the enormous costs involved in mastering an equestrian sporting discipline.

To start now as a novice and be ready for Team GB’s equestrian team in 2020 you’ll have to put in a massive 6240 hours of training, or 30 hours a week, and make a huge investment of £468,000.

Those on a tighter budget might decide to focus on judo. With a projected investment of less than £80,000 researchers judged this to be the least expensive sport to master to Olympic levels.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy option. To go from novice to Olympian judo star in just four years would require a massive 6864 hours of training – or 33 hours every week between now and the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony.

Perhaps surprisingly badminton was found to be one of the most difficult sports to master to this top level requiring 6656 hours training over four years, or 32 each week, and an investment of £155,418.

Boxing will set you back almost twice as much cash with a total investment of £299,520 needed to have any hope of Olympic selection.

Researchers also found boxing required more time to master than any other sport with a massive training commitment of 7488 hours needed in the ring and at the gym between now and Tokyo – that’s 36 hours every week.

Shane Forster, UK Country Manager at says “There’s no greater accolade than competing for your country at the Olympics. Our Olympic medalists are celebrated for years to come. Although our research shows that it’s costly to achieve your goals, you can’t put a price on success.”

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Cost of becoming Olympian
Cost of becoming Olympian