Carmelita Jeter Talks About the 2012 Olympics and the Business of Track and Field
What happened when you were younger that prevented you from competing?
In college I suffered from a recurring hamstring injury and a lot of that comes with not taking the sport seriously. I didn’t take care of my body like I should have. When I was in college I wasn’t actually thinking that this was a career. As I got older I became more mature about the sport.
What is the earning potential of a World Champion and medalist?
Every event is different. You have your career events and your not so career events. You have to be a dominant force in your event or someone that’s necessary on the starting line to command a lot of money. Making teams, getting medals are important factors to better you financially. If you’re not doing anything than you can’t expect to get anything. If I was a rapper and if I didn’t have a good CD I’m not going to expect the company to give me a lot of money and it’s similar in track and field. You have to show what you’re worth and then you can start crunching numbers. You can go to your agent and they have to be your advocate. But at the end of the day I always make the final decisions on what amounts I should be getting. Because an Olympic year is coming up I expect a lot of new opportunities to open up in January. When you do your job everything falls into place.
Are there large gaps between male and female runners’ earnings in terms of endorsement deals etc.?
It’s determined more by what you’ve done but generally women are not on the same page as men. But some women are making more than some men. At the end of the day if you have a good agent and a strong head on your shoulders you should be getting exactly the amount you deserve.
What happens when it’s over?
I definitely don’t put any boundaries on how long I’m going to run. I’ve always said if I wake up and I don’t want to compete anymore that’s when I’ll retire. But after track and field I’m setting up things in terms of owning property with apartment buildings and duplexes. I’m also going to work on my master’s degree so that I can be a coach at a university. My goal is to want to work not to have to work. I love track and field and I love being a coach. I enjoyed it when I taught at my high school for four years and it’s something you have to have a passion for. Everyone has his or her own path and my path is to help someone get to where I am. I want to be that mentor that boosts someone up to the next level.
What made you interested in real estate and how involved in the industry are you already?
My father owned apartment buildings and commercial buildings and he would always tell me once I was in a position to own property I really needed to invest. I feel like owning property will always be there. There will always be someone that needs to rent your place out. So once I’m older and retired my bills will all pay there self.
Are you currently involved in coaching track and field in your free time or is this something you look forward to pursuing in the future?
As of now I am not coaching. The last year I coached was 2008. Its extremely hard to coach and give 150 percent in practice. Coaching is a mental and physical drain. Once I’m done competing I will coach because I have a passion for coaching and I enjoy it.