Titan Sports, a leading sports newspaper in China, released its annual ranking list of China's Highest-Paid Athletes 2016 on May 22. The Olympic champion swimmer Sun Yang, with earnings of 69 million RMB ($10m), took first spot in the list, followed by Zhang Jike, Ning Zetao, and Yi Jianlian and other famous Chinese sports stars.
The earning figures include prize money, sponsorship incomes, and appearance fees. Each of the top 10 highest-paid athletes on the list earned over 20 million RMB ($2.9m) in 2016, which is four times higher than the figures in 2010.
Thanks to his excellent performance at the Rio 2016 Games, Sun Yang becomes the first athlete to top the list while still competing. At these Games, Sun Yang, as captain of the Chinese National Swimming Team and the Men’s 1500m freestyle world-record holder, picked up the gold medal in the Men’s 200 metre freestyle, as well as silver in the Men’s 400 metre freestyle. These achievements pushed the 25-year-old swimming sensation to the top of the highest-paid athletes list.
However, despite being famous for their high salaries, bonuses and sponsorship deals there are no stars from the Chinese Super League on the list. Titan Sports explained that these players’ earnings were not transparent enough, which led to a lack of credibility in the earnings figures and so were not included.
Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick