Do College Wrestlers Get Paid?

Wrestlers are full time athletes who are often training twice a day 6 days week. Wrestling is their life and by spending that much time on the sport there isn’t much time left for anything else. So how do wrestlers make money? In this article we will explore if wrestlers actually make and how they go about supporting themselves so they can train full time bring home those gold medals.

College wrestlers do not get paid to wrestle. However, they now can sign sponsorship deals and earn from their name and likeness. College wrestlers can also earn prize money from international events such as the Olympics. Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder was paid $250,000 for his 2016 gold medal.

How Much Do Freestyle Wrestlers Make?

How much do freestyle wrestlers make? The amount a freestyle wrestler makes depends on the country they are from, their competition results and their sponsorship deals. Olympic medalists from USA and Russia can earn over 6 figures per year through a combination of government support, sponsors, exhibition match prize money, cash bonuses for medals and payment for coaching.  

Do Olympic Wrestlers Get Paid?

Do Olympic wrestlers get paid? Yes, Olympic wrestlers get paid. Olympic wrestlers receive a stipend from the government, cash bonuses from donors for Olympic and world medals and sponsorship deals from major brands such as Asics, Nike and Adidas. Olympic wrestlers can increase their pay by running wrestling camps and competing in exhibition matches for prizes.

How Much Money Does Any Olympic Wrestler Make?

How much money does an Olympic wrestler make? Olympic wrestlers in Russia make $100,000 a year salary, they are gifted an apartment in their home region (this can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars if they are from a major city) and large cash bonuses such as luxury Mercedes cars for medals at international competitions.

How Much Does A USA Wrestler Make?

How much does a USA Wrestler make? A USA Olympic wrestler who wins an Olympic gold medal receives $250,000 and if they win a world championship gold medal a further $50,000. This is on top of their government stipend which can be as high as $4000 a month and their sponsorship deals which can be worth 100,000 + a year. 

How Do Freestyle Wrestlers Make Money?

How do freestyle wrestlers make money? Freestyle wrestlers make money through government funding which usually takes the form of a salary plus cash bonuses for medals in major competitions. Freestyle wrestlers can also make money through competing in exhibition matches which have prize money, attracting sponsorship deals and coaching athletes. 

Government Funding

The governments of many countries will pay wrestlers a monthly salary who are on their national teams. Depending which country you are from and your previous competition results will determine your salary.

In the USA wrestlers typically receive between $2000-$4000 per month from their stipend. The USA’s system is different to other countries as wrestlers receive both a government stipend and a stipend which is often derived from private donations which distributed from their wrestling clubs known as regional training center.

The Russian government takes care of its national team wrestlers. Top national team members can be expected to paid over $100,000 per year. Russian wrestlers are also gifted an apartment in their hometown. You are particularly lucky if you are from Moscow where small apartments can still cost mid 6 figures.

Putin, being an athlete himself has made a point to ensure all Russian athletes are well taken care of as he personally understands the sacrifices of athletes while also being keenly aware of the geopolitical power being a top sporting nation can deliver.

Prize Money

On top of earning a monthly stipend wrestlers can earn big prizes for results in international competition. The Living The Dream Fund was set up by hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz to reward US wrestlers for results at the Olympics and world competitions. Currently if you win an Olympic gold medal you will receive $250,000, $50,000 for a silver and $25,000 for a bronze. If you win a world gold medal you will receive $50,000, $25,000 for a silver and $15,000 for a bronze. The fund relies on donors to fund the prizes. These are juicy prizes that can bump a wrestler’s pay substantially.

Other nations have similar prize schemes. The Russians are less transparent about their rewards for international results. However, it is common for wrestlers who win international medals to be rewarded with extravagant gifts such as Mercedes G Wagons, $50,000 Rolexes and apartments. These gifts are funded by the government and wealthy donors. A number of organized crime figures in Russia are wealthy patrons of wrestling and like showing off their wealth by showering champion wrestlers with gifts.

Private Lessons

Wrestlers can earn some nice money teaching private lessons. It is not unreasonable for a champion wrestler to charge $100-$300 an hour for private tuition. There are plenty of successful parents who have kids that love to wrestle who would be willing splash some cash so their child can learn from an Olympic medalist. Wrestlers can also find clients by expanding their horizons and coaching MMA and BJJ athletes.

Wrestling is such an important part of MMA. High level MMA fighters would be willing to invest in themselves and spend some money to improve their wrestling skills particularly if they were being taught by a world champion.


Travelling the country or even the world can be a nice way wrestlers can fill up their pockets. Wrestling training camps are very popular as they give wrestlers an opportunity to level up their skills and go live against a variety of different wrestlers. Training camps are also lots of fun and a great way to meet friends.

If you are charging $50 for a 1 day training camp and you get 100 kids to show up, then you can quickly see that these training camps can be a nice way to supplement your income and allow you train full time.

There can be some logistical issues with camps as you need to hire venues, market the event, get insurance and have medics available. However, even after you deduct all the costs they are still a highly profitable venture and a big name wrestler should have no problem selling out a training camp.


Even though the sponsorships in wrestling are nothing compared to other sports such as basketball and golf they still can provide wrestlers with a nice income. Jordan Burroughs has a lucrative sponsorship deal with Asics where he released his own shoe and receives a percentage of all shoes sold. It is rumored that Burrough’s earns over $100,000 alone from his Asics deal. Other wrestlers have signed deals with Nike and Adidas.

Wrestlers are beginning to become famous and amass significant followings on social media. Kyle Dake has over 200k followers and Kyle Snyder has almost 300k followers. Wrestlers can make thousands of dollars per post on Instagram endorsing products and promoting affiliate links.

Running A Wrestling Gym

Wrestlers can earn a nice full time salary by running a wrestling gym. Ben Askren has successfully opened a number of wrestling academies. Running children’s wrestling classes is where the money is at. Many parents are looking for guilt free and affordable child care. Wrestling is a great way for kids to burn off some energy, learn some new skills and get fit. It is a much better alternative than a child sitting on the couch for hours after school.

Parents in the US are willing to pay $80-$150 per month for their children to attend a wrestling gym a few times a week. You can do the math. It doesn’t take that many kids training at your gym before you are making a nice salary for yourself.


College wrestlers do not get paid to wrestle and can not earn money from sponsorship deals or prize money from exhibition matches. However, college wrestlers can earn money working college wrestling camps and if they do win Olympic or world medals they are eligible to receive cash prizes. While wrestling at Ohio State Kyle Snyder won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics and in doing so earned $250,000.

Even though college wrestlers can’t get paid, once they leave college, if they can make a name for themselves and achieve internationals results they can earn a lot of money. Jordan Burroughs (multiple time world champion and Olympic gold medalist) is earning well over $100,000 per year through a combination of a government stipend, sponsorship deals, seminars, purses for exhibition matches and cash bonuses for international results.

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