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From 45,000 euros for a sailing boat to 60 for horse earmuffs

“The bag carrier is a part of me, he goes with me wherever I go,” Pablo Abián said shortly before taking the plane to Tokyo. “Rackets are much lighter and thinner than tennis rackets, very fragile, and if we invoice we run the risk of breaking them,” he explained. So in the place where one maybe carries an extra jacket in a small backpack and three or four basic things to survive in case the suitcase does not arrive, he carries his way of life. And it is not surprising that this athlete who has already played his fourth Games takes care of that bag like a treasure. Not only because he carries a dozen rackets at about 200 euros each, but because without them he would not be the best Spanish badminton player. Well, neither better nor worse, it just wouldn’t be.

Getting to the Olympic Games requires hours of effort, motivation and a lot of support, also financial. All of this is undeniable and also inherent to the athlete, but there is something else. Each sport has its own element: the badminton racket is to the badminton player what the jersey is to the gymnasts, the bike to the cyclists, the shoes to the athlete or the protections to the field hockey goalie.

And there are close to 2,000 euros in material that María Ángeles Ruiz has carried over these days under the sticks of the ‘Red Sticks’. The helmet costs 200 and up to the total all kinds of protectors come in: feet (220), arms (74), gloves (340), legs (74), private parts (24) … The stick, that They all carry it, it is worth 115 euros.

This is a list of what the material or equipment costs with which some of the Spanish Olympians compete in Tokyo, but not directly of what they spend, because sometimes a part is provided by the federation on duty or also, if it is the case, the sponsor or sponsors that support them. Taking into account also that such material or equipment may not carry “any form of advertising or commercial or other propaganda” that “stands out ostentatiously for advertising purposes”, as stated
rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. With the exception of the brand itself, which can only appear once and not exceed 10 cm.

“They are their own clubs,” they say in the Spanish Golf Federation about the material that Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Muñoz, Adri Arnaus and Jorge Campillo have brought to the Games. Jon Rahm was on this list, head of the list of the Spanish delegation who did not make his debut after testing positive for coronavirus. The total, as in many cases, is not exact because prices, brands and quantities may vary. Arnaus, for example,
account on your personal website what is in your bag. Taking the data provided by the federation, the drive would be around 600 euros, the woods, one or two, about 300, and the set of irons, about 1,500. The putter can cost 400, three wedges can cost 750 euros, the shoes are about 150 or 200 and about three dozen balls cost about 180 euros … The bag for the Games, with the colors of Spain, costs about 600 euros and it is provided by the federation.

Taking several elements of each thing is common. Abián carries a dozen rackets “because the string tends to break.” The one from Calatayud remembers that time when he went to catch one in the middle of the competition and realized that it was the penultimate in conditions.

So taking several of whatever is fine. Judokas, for example, must have a white and a blue judoki, at about 200 euros each, but they pack a few more.

Tennis players also carry several rackets, about eight to 200 euros each. In an approximate account of the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation about what these athletes use in a large tournament, there are also a couple of rolls of string (200 euros per unit), 3 or 4 strings per game (25 euros per unit), five overgrip (15 euros) and five dampers (25 euros), 50 polo shirts (50-90 euros each), 20 pants (40 euros) and 20 pairs of socks (10 euros), three sneakers (120 euros) … Only They include a bag (100 euros). And table tennis athletes do not wear rope, but during competition days they do change the rubbers often (the colored part). These can be found for around 70 euros while wood can exceed 300.

Another example is that of Jorge Ureña, the decathlete who has been ninth in Tokyo and who travels with a five-meter tube with six poles. That is not in case they break, but each one, according to its rigidity, serves a height. The last one he bought came out for about 1,000 euros. The kit is paid by the federation, but the spikes, “it depends on whether you get an offer”, range from 80 to 120 euros. He’s been at least “seven or eight counting the warm-up.” And he only takes the poles to the Games because as a rule it is the organization in this case that puts the material with which the athletes compete in the rest of the different athletic events, such as the javelin, the hammer or the shot put ball. .

The same thing happens in weightlifting, it’s obvious. Can you imagine Lydia Valentín traveling with her own weight that she has to lift later? To fight for the medals, the equipment of the Spanish weightlifters can add up to 300 euros: 80 from the jersey, 160 from the footwear, 50 from the protection belt and about 20 from the bandage.

So the release of material in any test other than those mentioned above is not recommended. Neither in Games nor in any other competition. “The cyclists have to run with the clothes of the federation, but they are not going to experiment with new material,” they explain from the sports entity itself. They refer to the shoes, the bike or the helmet. The latter, by the way, sometimes involves its own aerodynamic study, which adds to the price. The set of jersey and shorts costs about 300 to 400 euros, which rises to about 1,000 in the aerodynamic suits they use for the time trial. But beyond what they are wearing, which matters a lot, is the bicycle. Route, mountain bike and track are completely different modalities. At the velodrome, the brakes are not even used and in the mountains, damping or other more recent technologies, such as the dropper post, are essential. With this, the frames range from 8,000 to 12,000 euros.

Of course, a bronze medal, in these terms, costs 9,245 euros. This is the approximate market value of the bicycle that David Valero entered third in the men’s mountain biking event in Tokyo. That of the athlete Rocío García, with a different frame than that of her teammate at the BH Templo Cafés and a different setup, is worth 7,845 euros.

The skateboard also has wheels (and many fewer elements), whose price is around 100 euros. Of course, on saddles, the price range is much higher when going to a sport such as horse riding. Only if the price of the four-legged athlete is taken into account, they win by a landslide and with several zeros to the right. They also eat and need veterinary care.
The IOC has seven Spanish horses in its data, of which it offers information as if they were athletes. And they also need material to compete: a high-level chair is around 3,500 or 4,500 euros (taking into account that it varies according to the modality), the bridle is 600 euros, the reins, about 150 and the same iron, the piece that goes inside the horse’s mouth. If it is for dressage, they put bandages on his legs for about 200 euros and if he wears protectors, as in jumping, they are about 500. Earmuffs can cost 60. And the rider’s equipment also adds: a dressage tailcoat can cost 700 euros, pants, 220, boots, 700, a jumping jacket goes to 450 and the helmet, from 500 to 1,000.

And it may have been easy to visualize Abián carrying his bag and Ureña’s poles in the hold of an airplane, but how does a horse travel? Sources from the equestrian federation explain that a special flight is chartered for them, where they travel cared for. With less attention, but also with the utmost care, they send the boats. In May the sailing women had already traveled to Tokyo and before that the rowing women did so in a ship container. At that time, athletes train for the Games with ‘substitute’ boats.

In other words, it was not until these rowers and sailors arrived in Tokyo that they were able to use the boats with which they were going to fight for the medals. It is a circumstance that, on a different scale, occurs in other sports in which a kit is used for training and better finery is reserved for competition. It occurs for example in artistic gymnastics, where the leotard that the girls have worn in training is worth about 60 euros, at market price, and the competition one, much more elaborate and loaded with diamonds (Czech rhinestones), can reach between 200 and 300 euros each.

It is not aesthetics, although it is also important, the main thing in sailing and rowing, two sports that rise to the podium of the material that costs the most. About 21,000 euros are worth the boat of two without a helmsman like the one that Aina Cid and Virginia Díaz have used in Tokyo, getting a sixth place. To which we must add 1,200 euros for the oars and about 60 for the little banana, which is the equipment.

In the case of sailing, the sailors Jordi Xammar and Nico Rodríguez won bronze in the 470 with a double boat that costs 12,000 basic euros. With the mast, the rudder, the daggerboard and the sails the price rises to about 20,000 or 22,000 euros. It is not the most expensive boat of the 10 classes in which the Spanish delegation competes, since the price in some of them reaches 45,000 euros. At the bottom, an RS: X windsurf board like the one that Blanca Manchón carried is around 12,000 euros with all the necessary equipment to compete at a high level: board, pole, boom and sail; with their corresponding spare parts.

“It cannot be said that the prices are indicative,” they point out from the federation. This is a maxim that is repeated in each of the answers given by the specialists or athletes consulted. For obvious reasons, such as that everything changes according to the qualities or the brand, also because each one carries more or less quantity of this or that. So there would be as many budgets as athletes in a Games, from amazons and jockeys, rowers and sailors to judokas, athletes or gymnasts. There would not be, at the other extreme, such athletes – perhaps not as we know them today – without saddles, rowing boats, sailing, judokis, training or competition shoes or jerseys. And that has a price.

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