Olympic athletes fight blood, sweat and tears to compete for their country’s pride and honour, so it is only right that they get rewarded for their hard work, especially if they bag a gold!
These rewards range from cash bonuses to lifelong pensions, and vary from country to country.
Governments of countries that have been struggling to clinch at least a gold or two at the Olympics often offer much higher monetary incentives for their athletes. Meanwhile, top Olympic athletes have been known to score lucrative sponsorships and endorsement deals.
Today, we take a look how much money Olympic gold medallists in different countries make:
The Chinese government heavily invests in their athletic programmes, so it is no surprise that they’re one of the most successful nations when it comes to the Olympics.
So far, China has won over 200 gold medals in the summer Olympics since its debut in 1952.
For its part, China rewards its top players with US$31,400 for every gold medal they bring home.
The Indonesian government forks out a cash prize of 5 billion Indonesia rupiah, or approximately US$384,000, for gold medallists who take home gold.
Meanwhile, silver and bronze medallists will get 2 billion rupiah, (US$152,000), and 1 billion rupiah, or (US$76,000) respectively.
So far, Indonesia has bagged two silver medals at Rio 2016 for weightlifting.
Malaysian Olympic athletes who win a gold medal for an individual sport category can expect to take home a RM1 million (US$250,000) reward.
Malaysia has not won any gold medals at the Olympics to date, although they did score a cool silver for the the women’s 10m platform synchro diving event at Rio 2016.
Athletes Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong – the diving team behind the win – will reportedly share a RM300,000 (US$74,700) cash incentive, as well as a life-long monthly pension of RM3,000 (US$747).
Despite controversies surrounded a state-run “doping programme” that nearly resulted in a blanket ban for all Russian athletes from competing in the Rio Olympics, the sovereign state has gone on to clinch nine gold medals at this time of writing.
For their efforts, Russia rewards its athletes with US$61,000 for every gold medal.
Singapore’s Olympic athletes stand to take home a whooping S$1 million (US$746,000) for winning gold under its Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP). This award has gone unclaimed until the Rio 2016 Olympics, which saw swimmer Joseph Schooling become the first Singaporean athlete ever to win an Olympic gold.
The 21-year-old won the top spot in the finals of the 100m butterfly event, in which he beat long-time Olympic darling Michael Phelps and set a new record time of 50.39s.
Besides the prize money, Singapore’s national carrier, Singapore Airlines also reportedly awarded him with one million KrisFlyer miles and a KrisFlyer Elite Gold card. Meanwhile, the ride-hailing platform Grab will be giving Schooling and his family free rides for a year.
Taiwan won its first Olympic medal all the way back in 1960, and their first gold medals in 2004.
In August 2016, 25-year-old weightlifter Hsu Shu-ching became the first Taiwanese athlete to win gold in Rio.
For her achievement, Hsu can expect to take home NT$20 million (US$640,000) after Taiwan’s Ministry of Education approved amendments to raise the prize money for gold medallists.
The committee will award Hsu with an additional NT$10 million (US$320,000).
- The Philippines
The Philippines first sent its athletes to compete at the Olympic Games in 1924, making it the first Southeast Asian country to compete and win a medal.
So far, it has clinched a silver for weightlifting in Rio 2016.
Filipino athletes who win gold will be granted 10 million Philippine pesos (PHP) or US$215,000, while silver and bronze medallists will get 5 million PHP (US$107,000) and 2 million PHP (US$43,000) respectively.
Known for their prowess in sports like boxing and weightlifting, Thai athletes have won a total of nearly 30 medals in the Olympics so far.
Their most successful game to date were the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, in which they scored eight medals, three of them were gold. At Rio 2016, Thai athletes scored two golds for the weightlifting category.
Gold medallists reportedly get a cash incentive of 10 million Thai baht, which is around US$287,000. Winners have been known to receive further cash prizes from private sectors too. They typically amount to additional millions of Thai baht.
- United States
The United States has been one of the most successful countries in the Olympic games, and has hosted the Olympics on eight occasions – more than any other country in the world!
It has also won more gold and overall medals than any other country in the Summer Olympic games, and the second-most gold and overall medals at the Winter Games.
Top athletes in the US get US$25,000 for every gold medal they bag at the Olympics.
- South Korea
South Korean athletes are on a roll in Rio, having scored an impressive six gold medals collectively in archery, fencing and shooting this year.
In South Korea, gold medallists get 60 million won (US$55,000), while silver medallists get 30 million won (US$27,000) and bronze medallists get 18 million won (US$16,000).
In truth, most athletes make it big with sponsorship money, which can amount to millions for star athletes. For example, Ryan Lochte, the up-and-coming darling of the US swim team, is expected to take home over US$2 million this year in sponsorship deal money.
However, the catch is, you only get it if you make it big enough in the sporting arena. Unfortunately, most athletes aren’t. There are over 10,000 athletes competing in 28 sports, with just around 1,000 medals up for grabs.
Image source: todayonline.com