Finishing fourth place in the 500-meter speed skating race at a key 2017 world championship competition earned Mitch Whitmore a nine-month stipend to help fund his training and living expenses.
But had he skated half a second faster to finish third, he would have secured a spot on the podium and a monthly stipend that was hundreds of dollars higher, he says.
That would have made a difference. Whitmore and many other Olympians are stretched thin financially, often footing hefty team fees and travel expenses. Meanwhile, a rigorous, full-time training schedule leaves little time for paid work.
NerdWallet talked to winter athletes competing in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, about what being an Olympian means for their budgets.