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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Tokyo Olympics postponement means that nearly $200 million in media rights fees, which the International Olympic Committee was set to distribute to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, likely won't arrive until August 2021.

Why it matters: While this certainly puts a financial strain on the USOPC, it also illuminates the larger issue of how the committee distributes its funds, with athletes occupying the bottom of a trickle-down system that leaves many destitute even in the best of times.

What they're saying: In a 2018 segment of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," snowboarder Jonathan Cheever, who competed in Pyeongchang, said that the little help he got from the USOPC — a $1,500 stipend, plus health insurance — only covered a fraction of his costs.

  • In fact, when he wasn't training, he had to work as a licensed plumber to help pay off the $70,000+ in debt he'd racked up on his credit card.
  • Meanwhile, 14 USOPC execs were paid $200,000+ that year, while another 115 staff members made six figures.

The big picture: The USOPC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, making it one of the few national Olympic committees that don't receive government funding. Hence why this $200 million cash crunch could hit American athletes particularly hard.

  • "Our nation stands apart from others because our Olympic and Paralympic teams are not just cheered by an enthusiastic national fan base, but also funded by one," the U.S. Olympic Foundation, a nonprofit that fundraises for the USOPC, proudly states on its website.
  • By comparison, the U.K. government pours ~$709 million into UK Sport, an agency that manages funding and partnerships for Olympic athletes; and in Canada, the government invests ~$153 million into the Olympics annually, per Mother Jones.

The bottom line: We love the Olympics because they give us all a chance to come together every 2–4 years and get the patriotic warm-and-fuzzies. But behind the scenes, the USOPC's financial distribution model causes undue strain on Olympic hopefuls — and those purse strings just got even tighter.

Go deeper

Sep 8, 2020 - Sports

Caster Semenya loses appeal against testosterone rule limiting Olympic competition

Caster Semenya competes in the women's 200m final during the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in March 2020. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

Olympic champion Caster Semenya lost her appeal against the governing body of track and field's rule requiring female runners to lower their naturally high testosterone levels with medication, AP reports.

Why it matters: Semenya will not be able to attend the Tokyo Games next year to defend her 800-meter Olympic title nor any major meets in distances from 400 to 1,500 meters unless she lowers her testosterone level through surgery or medication, which she has said she won't do.

Go deeper: Caster Semenya says "hell no" to testosterone-lowering drugs

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two with the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two "assault rifles" believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI told news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.