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Sandi Morris. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF

The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics was a serious economic blow for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls.

The state of play: With seasons and events canceled, athletes are unable to earn appearance fees, prize money and performance bonuses from sponsors, all while continuing to train for Tokyo 2021.

  • Outside of a select few, most Olympic athletes earn very little money from their sport. In fact, as pole vaulting silver medalist Sandi Morris (above) told me this week: "A general rule of thumb is that if an athlete is not top 10 in the world in their event, they probably have a part-time job to pay the bills."
  • Some athletes have sponsorship deals, but many of those are up in the air, with sponsors hurting financially and unprepared to pay athletes for an extra 12 months.
"Every four years, we know Team USA is going be the team everyone is watching. We know our athletes are going to perform and raise our flag high for the world to see. In order for us to get that, we need to invest in them."
— Five-time Olympian Bernard Lagat tells Axios

Go deeper: Athletes who qualified for Tokyo Olympics to keep their spots in 2021

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Oct 15, 2020 - Sports

NCAA grants D-I winter athletes additional year of eligibility

In an attempt to provide as much flexibility as possible amid a time of great uncertainty, the NCAA has granted all D-I winter athletes an additional year of eligibility — something that was already granted to all fall and spring athletes.

What they're saying: Grace Calhoun, who chairs the NCAA's D-I council and is the athletic director at Penn, said the council didn't want athletes choosing to redshirt because of fears that their seasons might be cut short or negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Ina Fried, author of Login
49 mins ago - Technology

Epic's long game against Apple

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Epic's Apple lawsuit is costing the company dearly, but the game developer has its eye on a valuable long-term goal: prying tomorrow's virtual worlds loose from the grip of app store proprietors like Apple.

Between the lines: Epic isn't spending a fortune in legal fees and foregoing a ton of revenue just to shave some costs off in-app purchases on today's phones. Rather, it's planning for a future of creating virtual universes via augmented and virtual reality — without having to send a big chunk of their economies to Apple or Google.

Updated 54 mins ago - Health

The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Slow global COVID-19 vaccination rates are raising concerns that worse variants of the coronavirus could be percolating, ready to rip into the world before herd immunity can diminish their impact.

Why it matters: The U.S. aims to at least partially vaccinate 70% of adults by July 4, a move expected to accelerate the current drop of new infections here. But variants are the wild card, and in a global pandemic where only about 8% of all people have received one dose, the virus will continue mutating unabated.

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