← News Aug 19th 2016

How Much Money Did Olympic Winners Get?

Olympic games champions

When you think about the Olympic Games, the first thing that comes to mind is the image of an athlete grinning from ear to ear, perhaps with tears in their eyes, as they step up to the podium to collect their medal. Whether bronze, silver or gold, you can see that four years of training hard and making sacrifices has all been worth it in their minds, and the emotion and pride that the champion feels when hearing their national anthem rise and their country's flag rise is something that every single sport person in the world strives for. Something that we don't necessarily think of, however, is the issue of prize money for Olympic champions and medallists. After all, the Olympic movement began as an event for amateurs. Though prize money is not something that is organised officially by the Olympic committee, meaning that it is not a sanctioned part of a medallist's prize, it is often common for certain countries to award prize money of their own accord to athletes who have brought success and happiness to their nation. This is entirely up to the individual nations, and as we are about to see, the amounts and the exceptions can be very wide and varied.

Which money Prize was the biggest?

At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the undisputed winner in terms of prize money received from his home nation was Joseph Schooling. The Singaporean swimmer won a gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly competition, and as a result of his success, he was awarded a staggering 433,000 pounds to go along with his place in history and his gold medal. The truth is that the majority of participating countries in the Olympics Games do not offer cash incentives to their athletes, and recent research has discovered that only ten other nations along with Singapore operated such a policy. These nations, with a cash bonus for gold medals only, were Indonesia at 220,000 pounds, Azerbaijan at 146,00 pounds, Kazakhstan at 132,000 pounds, Italy at 106,000 pounds, France at 50,000 pounds, Russia at 46,000 pounds , South Africa at 27,000 pounds , United States at 19,000 pounds , Germany at 15,000 pounds and Australia at 11,000 pounds. As you can see, these figures vary greatly, and it might be surprising to some to see that big medal winners like Australia and the USA are happy to foot the bill for multiple medal winners. It also might be surprising to some that Great Britain are not on the list of nations that reward their gold medal winning Olympians with cash prizes. Heroes like Mo Farah, Andy Murray, Adam Peaty, Alistair Brownlee, the women's hockey team and all of the amazing track cyclists have to settle for the medals around their necks and the outpouring of national affection rather than a financial incentive.

Other types of motivation

Though this might seem unfair, it is the belief of a lot of the participating athletes that the chance of a medal should be enough to motivate them to perform to the best of their ability on the biggest stage of all. There is also a belief that winning a medal does in effect guarantee you a financial boost, as you will be much more likely to be offered sponsorship and advertising deals that will reflect your status as the best athlete in your field in the entire world. Instead of money, some countries like to reward their medal winners in other interesting and exceptional ways. For example, gold medal winnings German athletes are given a lifetime supply of free beer, and South Korean medallists are given an exemption from having to complete their otherwise compulsory military service. These are just a few examples of what must be a very interesting topic.

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