Northug Leads Race Of Top Earners In XC Skiing, Johaug Second

The end of October is a time when Skatteetaten or the Norwegian tax service publishes personal income declarations of country’s citizens. Unlike most of the other nations where such an information is seen as deeply private, in Norway ( as in Sweden and in Finland) it is considered vital for society’s health and openness to make it public.

…Thus giving the Nordic media – and through their efforts all interested – a chance to glean how much money the top stars of cross country skiing really make.

And for international skiing audience to imagine what sort of money the xc skiing could bring – when/if it is as developped and popular of a sport as it is in Norway.

So, here’s some info of note:

1. Petter Northug Jr. and Therese Johaug might have had a terrible season for different reasons – but it’s them two who top the list of big earners of 2016:

Northug: NOK 5 721 353 ( approx. 600.000 euros)
Johaug : 3 125 976  ( approx. 330.000 euros)

There is no breakdown of income sources, but it’s clear that both make their money from various endorsement deals and investment. Most of advertizers stood as a rock behind Johaug throughout her doping ordeal ( with some exceptions e.g. Fischer ) and Northug brand in media is as strong as ever.

Marit Bjørgen and Martin Johnsrud Sundby had won a lot more competitions in 2016 but were left distant 3d and 4th in the race for money, NOK 2 904 485 and 2 387 929, respectively. That’s the price of being a lot less concrened about building a personal brand, both through traditional media and social media channels.

2. Unlike top Norwegian alpine skier ( Aksel Lund Svindal) and top biathlete ( Ole Einar Bjørndalen) who both are Austrian tax residents these days and, therefore, don’t have to show their full income to Skatteetaten ( only a portion earned in Norway), the skiing stars remain patriotic and pay their dues at home – Northug, for instance, paid NOK 1 772 151 in taxes for 2016.

3. The fame earned at the ski tracks serve Norwegian skiing stars long after their last podium – just ask Vegard Ulvang who’s fortune is given by the tax service as NOK 38 mln. And, most impressively, Bjørn Dæhlie
who earned a whopping NOK 107 million in 2016 increasing his overall wealth to NOK 452 million in total. Of course, both have uncanny business acumen to become that rich – but name fame, clearly, helps.

4. Other Nordic countries like Sweden and Finland might have similar weather and living conditions to Norway, but their skiers could only dream of Norwegian incomes. In Finland top earner among skiers, Matti Heikkinen have got 95,000 euros in 2016 while Iivo Niskanen finished the year with €78,000 and Krista Pärmäkoski with €64,000. It’s really tough outside the top three: Iivo Niskanen’s sister, Team Finland member Kerttu Niskanen, earned only 5,000 euros.

The income data from Sweden is not available yet but the Swedish stars tend to slot in financially right between those of Finland and Norway except for Charlotte Kalla, who’s business venture turned profit of some SEK 3,411,000 or 340.000 the previous year.

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Top photo courtesy of Nardobil

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