The issue of sponsorship and celebrity is one faced by professional cyclists. My local paper printed this Washington Post article about professional skier Bode Miller and the issues he faces with celebrity, sponsorship, fandom, drug-testing, and organization.
Bode Miller's book / Amazon.com.
Miller -- a homeschooled boy who grew up in rural New Hampshire in a cabin with no plumbing and electricity -- loves to ski but is growing weary of the interviews and sponsorship commitments. "I wanted to ski race, and I wanted to do the other things that were important to me. Definitely at some point, you stop doing things that you want to do because there's too many things that you have to do."
The Black Jersey
What's a racer who's tired of the adulation, hero worship, riches, fame, wealth and constant groupie attention to do? If you're a cyclist, consider joining Team Blackjersey. Blackjersey is everything about bike racing or riding without sponsorship overload. If you like having your jersey blank, blackjersey is for you. If you like to sponsor yourself, blackjersey is for you.
Group founder Cameron Mallory tells me, "I'll be the first to admit that I completely understand the idea of sponsorship, and that it is needed if you're earning your living being a racer." He adds, however, "You don't have to go around wearing brightly colored jerseys and shirts if you don't want to. You can wear things that look good both on and off the bike."
"It seems that cyclists get a bad enough reputation for being spandex clad, perhaps this is a way to try to repair some of that."
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Would you believe that some top cross country skiers from Norway (skiers that have olympic gold medals) only make maybe $15,000-30,000 per year? Sponorships etc are completely controlled by the federation... A bit debate these days.