Reeves Wiedeman contrasts Olympians from big-name sports like tennis and basketball, who have lucrative pro leagues, to "athletes for whom the Games mean everything":

[T]op performers in the kinds of sports that only draw real attention every four years—and their endorsers—have marketing plans built around the Games. The window is small: if there is no medal, there is no attention, no Wheaties box, and perhaps no endorsement-contract renewal. Even a bronze medal can ensure some financial security, or at least the chance to come back next time; fourth place in some sports might mean giving up the whole thing entirely.