COVID-19 Impact Athlete Survey

Team USA Well-Being & COVID-19 Impact Study

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee designed and deployed a survey to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the Team USA athlete community, focusing specifically on athletes’ current mental, physical and financial well-being as a result of the pandemic.

The results will help identify resources, services and aid that athletes have already received, while also guiding the USOPC and its engaged community of National Governing Bodies, partners and supporters on additional opportunities to enhance athlete support in areas with the greatest impact. Additionally, the results will further aid in the USOPC’s ongoing assessment of the landscape surrounding return to training, competition and qualification.

The survey was distributed to 4,400 athlete hopefuls for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and winter sport athletes who are receiving direct athlete support and Elite Athlete Health Insurance during the 2019-20 season. In total, nearly 17% (737) of the surveyed athlete population responded – including 643 Olympic athletes representing 33 summer sports and six winter sports, and 94 Paralympic athletes representing 17 summer sports and one winter sport. Of the total athlete respondent population, 64 are also NCAA student-athletes.


1. Athlete Income

  • 59% of athletes reported Games-year income below $25,000.
  • One-third of athlete respondents rely primarily on competition prize money and sponsorships for their income.
  • An additional quarter of athlete respondents rely almost solely on non-sport-related employment.

2. COVID-19 Financial Impact

  • 75% of athletes have lost income as a result of the pandemic, with 26% losing more than half.
  • 28% of athletes have applied for and received unemployment benefits, but 34% are not sure of their eligibility or how to apply.

3. Return to training, competition and qualification

  • Over 40% of athlete respondents feel the Tokyo Games postponement will have an adverse effect on their ability to qualify for the Games in 2021.
  • The median time athletes reported needing to return to training prior to elite competition is 21 weeks, with 75% of athletes needing 10 weeks or more.
  • Nearly 80% of athletes have confidence in the USOPC, their NGB and coaches to responsibly handle return to training and competition with their well-being in mind.

4. General Assistance

  • 70% of athletes are aware of the USOPC’s mental health resources.
  • One-third of athletes said they have not received any additional assistance from their NGB, college/university or local club.
  • 55% of athletes would like opportunities for paid sponsorship activation.
  • 54% of athletes would benefit from additional grant funding.
  • 28% of athletes would like to have access to recovery and rehabilitation services.

5. Athlete Engagement and Outreach

  • Athletes indicated interest to engage in USOPC initiatives and ranked their preferences as (1) virtual training or exercise advice, (2) social media campaigns, and (3) community service and outreach.
  • Athletes want additional opportunities to build a Team USA community, while interacting with athletes from other sports.


Team USA athlete voices and perspectives were clearly conveyed and heard through the survey results, producing several key themes. Based on these findings, the USOPC identified actionable opportunities to enhance athlete services and support – including strengthening ongoing efforts to promote athletes’ mental, physical and financial well-being, as well as new opportunities for additional action and engagement throughout the broad U.S. Olympic & Paralympic community.

These opportunities are intended to be refined as the USOPC continues to listen, learn and adapt to the ever-changing environment – and the USOPC looks forward to a collaborative process with athletes, NGBs and partners.

Ongoing athlete feedback is essential to the USPOC providing meaningful services, and the USOPC is committed to creating additional opportunities for athletes to share their insights and input on how the USOPC can better support their holistic success. The Athletes’ Advisory Council is a critical partner in that work, and has opened dedicated channels to intake athlete feedback for each of the following:

1. Creating Community

  • We heard clearly that athletes want to build a Team USA community, including opportunities to interact and engage with athletes from other sports and with those who are at different points in their careers. We convened an athlete-led virtual gathering on racial and social justice – the first of many opportunities for athletes to learn, share and act on important topics that impact our community.

2. Interim Financial Support and Resources

  • We heard that a significant portion of our athlete population has lost income as a result of the pandemic and athletes expressed interest to engage in paid sponsorship activation. We will continue to provide resources to the athlete community to better educate them on unemployment qualifications and provide them with the tools to apply; and are working with partners to identify additional supplemental earning opportunities for athletes. We will allocate the Team USA Fund toward athlete relief efforts, such as funding additional athlete mental health services.

3. Help with Training

  • We heard athletes need access to training facilities as they work to return to sport. We convened a COVID-19 working group to develop thorough return to training and event action plans to guide athletes – and the organizations that support them – with clear information on how to safely return to sport. Additionally, we identified interim training needs and engaged partners to fulfill those requests. We will prioritize athlete health and safety and remain vigilant in our adherence to local and state guidelines.

4. Providing Ways to Give Back

  • We heard athletes indicate that they would like to be involved in USOPC initiatives, such as (1) virtual training or exercise advice, (2) social media campaigns, and (3) community service and outreach. We will seek opportunities internally and with partners to provide opportunities for athletes to give back.