Short Course World Record Holder Sarah Köhler Awarded IOC Scholarship

Short course world record holder Sarah Köhler has been named one of 5 German Olympic Sports Federation athletes to receive a scholarship from the International Olympic Committee in order to fund her preparations for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The scholarship is designed as a part of the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Program, supporting athletes in their preparations for the Olympic Games. The IOC is expected to award approximately 1,600 of these scholarships worldwide for the 2020 (2021) Olympic cycle. Alongside Köhler, Max Hoff (canoe racing), Niklas Kaul(athletics), Leon Rohde (track cycling) and Oliver Zeidler (rowing) will also receive the scholarship from the IOC, which will provide each athlete with $600 USD per month. 

“The scholarship makes it easier for me to get to Tokyo,” said Köhler, “The postponement of the games has confused the life planning not only for me, but also for many athletes.”

All of the athletes recognized are some of the best in the world within their respective disciplines. Hoff is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the K-4 1000m canoe sprint event, Kaul is the reigning World Champion in the decathlon event, Rohde is a multi-time national champion across several different track cycling events, and Zeidler is the reigning world champion in the single scull event. 

Köhler is the current world record holder in the 1500 SCM freestyle, which she set at the 2019 German Championships in Berlin. Her time of 15:18.01 cut a second off of the old record. In addition, Köhler was a double medalist at the 2019 World Championships, winning a gold in the team 5k open water event, while finishing as the individual silver medalist in the 1500m freestyle. 

Due to her performances at the 2019 World Championships, Köhler is already qualified to represent Germany at the 2021 Olympic Games. 

Köhler recently got engaged to fellow German Olympic swimmer and World Champion Florian Wellbrock at the beginning of the month. Wellbrock is also in the process of training for the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

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3 years ago

Should’ve gone to NCAA system. She’d receive a lot more than that per month.

Reply to  Swimmin85
3 years ago

You realize that she is also funded by Germany and doesn’t have to live off of $600 per month? Also not everyone wants to pack up their things and move to a different country while leaving family and friends behind. As far as i know she is studying to become a lawyer and since Germany and the US have different legal systems, this also could have been a problem. I am also not sure how good the american system is for open water swimming.

3 years ago

With that money she can buy like 1.5 racing suits per month lol

Ondulation Fabio
3 years ago

What a way to make a living. 600 dollars per month …

Just as a comparison a pro basketball/football/soccer player on 5 million a year makes the same amount in little less than 1 hour (and those are just “average” pros) !!!

Reply to  Ondulation Fabio
3 years ago

It’s a supplement not a living. The IOC is not her employer.

Tommy Schmitt
Reply to  Troyy
3 years ago

The point is just that on top of her other income (DSV, sponsors, etc) this extra stipend really is minuscule in comparison to what athletes in other sports can earn. That’s also why you have seen very little talent coming out of Germany in the last decade. Elite swimmers are often full-time university students in addition to doing their training on the side. Helge Meeuw is now a physician, Britta Steffen also got a bunch of degrees to pursue a career after swimming. A lot of swimmers that aren’t world class (yet) simply give up in their early twenties in Germany as there’s very little support for them to pursue a serious training regimen while pursuing a degree concurrently.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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