From Gold to Green: Olympic Medal Payouts Compared By Nation

TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES

  • Thursday, July 22 – Sunday, August 8, 2021
  • Swimming: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 1, 2021
  • Tokyo, Japan

Last year ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, SwimSwam examined medal bonuses paid by Olympic Committees of various nations worldwide to be given to those Summer Games athletes who finish in podium position. With the Olympics around the corner (again), several federations have made changes in the last 12 months that it deserves a refresher.

For the host country, a report last week from the Kyodo News in Japan noted that bonuses of ¥5,000,000 (~$45,200), ¥2,000,000 (~$18,100), and ¥1,000,000 (~$9,045) will be paid to Japanese gold, silver and bronze medalists, respectively, at the Olympic Games.  Notably, an additional prize has been announced for the Japanese baseball team, where each player will receive an additional ¥5,000,000 (~$45,200) should the host team take home gold.

We should also mention from the top that these medal payments aren’t the only way Olympic athletes are funded by their respective federations. For example, the United Kingdom does not offer specific medal bonuses but rather devoted approximately £345 million of government and lottery funds to Olympic and Paralympic sports for the Tokyo cycle, including roughly £61 million for “Athlete Performance Awards” (which are not based entirely on Olympic medals). The United States offers tiered monthly stipends offered to the United States national team, depending on pro, NCAA or high school status.

A not-exhaustive table of bonuses is below. Some additional notes:

  • While the United States awards don’t seem like much, it actually was even lower in Rio; the USOC announced significant pay bumps in December of 2016, including a jump from $25,000 to $37,500 for gold medals
  • Italy elevated its prize money by more than 30% this past year, now paying a whopping €180,000 (~$212,400 USD) for a gold medal. That total is by far the largest we could find of countries with at least 15 swimming medals to their name
  • In addition to a cash bonus, for the past several Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin has gifted luxury cars to medal winners
  • Medal rewards discussions were more prevalent than usual throughout the general public in 2016, after Joe Schooling took home a S$1,000,000 bonus (~$744,000 USD) from Singapore for his victory in the 100 butterfly over a field that included Michael Phelps. Singapore has set the standard for the largest official medal reward provided that we could find

Besides money, there are also other potential benefits – like escaping mandatory military service – for Olympic medalists in some nations. Some nations, like the U.S., also award bonus money to clubs based on athletes’ results.

So it’s not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, but this gives a basic comparison among what different nations are spenidng for medals.

Olympic Medal Rewards by Nation, per the latest available information. All figures converted to USD:

COUNTRY GOLD SILVER BRONZE SOURCE (AS OF)
Singapore 744,000 USD 372,000 USD 186,000 USD Source (2021)
Indonesia 746,000 USD 378,000 USD 188,000 USD Source (2019)
Hong Kong 644,000 USD 322,000 USD 161,000 USD Source (2020)
Thailand 309,300 USD unknown unknown Source (2016)
Kazakhstan 250,000 USD 150,000 USD 75,000 USD Source (2018)
Azerbaijan 248,000 USD 124,000 USD 62,000 USD Source (2019)
Malaysia 241,000 USD* 72,200 USD* 24,100 USD* Source (2021)
Italy 212,400 USD 106,200 USD 70,800 USD Source (2021)
Hungary 167,500 USD 125,600 USD 95,500 USD Source (2020)
France 65,000 USD 25,000 USD 15,000 USD Source (2021)
Russia 61,000 USD 38,000 USD 26,000 USD Source (2018)
Brazil 47,500 USD 28,500 USD 19,000 USD Source (2021)
Japan 45,200 USD 18,100 USD 9,045 USD Source (2021)
USA 37,500 USD 22,500 USD 15,000 USD Source (2016)
South Africa 37,000 USD 19,000 USD 7,000 USD Source (2019)
Netherlands 35,400 USD 26,600 USD 17,700 USD Source (2016)
Germany 22,000 USD 17,000 USD 11,000 USD Source (2019)
Canada 16,000 USD 12,000 USD 8,000 USD Source (2021)
Australia 15,100 USD 11,400 USD 7,600 USD Source (2021)

*Does not include monthly lifetime salaries of RM5,000 for gold, RM3,000 for silver, and RM2,000 for bronze

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The one and only
2 months ago

Well now it all makes sense why Santo decided to switch his allegiance to Italy 🇮🇹

Crown
Reply to  The one and only
2 months ago

Bag chaser 😉

Catherine
Reply to  The one and only
2 months ago

He has to win that medal first. Has he even been named to the Italian team?

2Fat4Speed
2 months ago

But are a sure the officials for South Africa Swimming won’t step in and demand a 95% cut?

FST
2 months ago

I think the lifetime monthly salary by Malaysia (do they have medal chances in any sport?) are a great idea!

Admin
Reply to  FST
2 months ago

Malaysia won 5 medals at the 2016 Olympics. They’re a badminton super power, and have a very good diving program as well.

ZH
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Baadmitten, aren’t those from Austria?

Book it!
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

It’s really hard to say Badminton and Olympics in the same sentence!

Admin
Reply to  Book it!
2 months ago

I don’t get it.

SHRKB8
2 months ago

So she (and all other medallists) should if she medals. Damn lot of hard work gone into getting her there and so much of it on very meagre financial assistance from relevant association.

Brownish
2 months ago

In Hungary this payment is without tax and who win medals also earn monthly lifetime salary from 35 years of age.

MIKE IN DALLAS
2 months ago

At least for TEAM USA athletes – and many others — isn’t the real ‘cash in’ to come witn endorsements, pesonal appearances, etc. ?

Virtus
2 months ago

I was about to say this, she better be ready

Honest Observer
2 months ago

According to this chart, Hong Kong pays more for a bronze than a silver.

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A Stanford University and Birmingham, Michigan native, Morgan Priestley started writing for SwimSwam in February 2013 on a whim, and is loving that his tendency to follow and over-analyze swim results can finally be put to good use. Morgan swam competitively for 15+ years, primarily excelling in the mid-distance freestyles. While …

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