Joseph Schooling Cashes In On $753,000, The Biggest Gold Medal Bonus In The World

Joseph Schooling‘s win in the 100 meter fly at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games was a historic one. In stopping Michael Phelps from completing the 100 fly 4-peat, he cemented his place in history as the first Singaporean athlete to ever win an Olympic gold medal in any sport.

But that gold medal wasn’t the only reward Schooling had coming his way after he touched the wall. Singapore is one of many countries around the world that give their athletes a financial bonus for gold medals, offering $753,000 dollars to any athlete who wins gold.

Schooling has earned the biggest bonus of anyone in the world, as Singapore’s prize is significantly lasrger than that of any other country. The 2nd largest amount is Indonesia’s $383,000 gold medal bonus. In comparison with the USA, Schooling’s bonus is over 30 times larger than the $25,000 offered to American athletes.

While the money is on the table, there lies the question of whether or not Schooling will be able to accept it while maintaining his elligibility in the NCAA with the University of Texas. This isn’t the first time the issue has come up for him, as he was awarded a bonus for winning bronze at the 2015 FINA World Championships, and earned over $31,000 for his performance at the 2015 SEA Games. He was also awarded $370,000 in prize money for his medal winnings at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2014.

That worked out in his favor, as a spokesperson for the University of Texas said Schooling was able to keep the full amount because it was under the allowable NCAA guidelines.

Another example of this came in 2012 when then-amateur Missy Franklin hauled in five medals, four of which were gold and worth $25,000 in prize money each from the United States Olympic Committee. Franklin wasn’t allowed to accept the full financial benefits of her Olympic performance, but she was allowed to keep some of the money.

The NCAA allows athletes to accept money earned through the USOC’s Operation Gold program, which gives money to athletes based on their performance at high-level competitions such as the Olympics or World Championships.

Per NCAA bylaws: An individual (prospective student-athlete or student-athlete) may accept funds that are administered by the U.S. Olympic Committee pursuant to its Operation Gold program.  (Adopted: 4/26/01)

In August of 2015, an NCAA policy went into effect that allowed international student-athletes to accept medal bonuses from their countries’ equivalents of the USOC. According to that rule, Schooling will be able to accept the gold medal bonus without forfeiting his elligibility.

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5 years ago

US swimmers get to earn more from endorsement deals if they continue to stay professional and medal at the Olympics or Worlds. Joseph is unlikely to earn as much over the lifetime of his career because of the smaller market in Singapore. He deserves his bonus.

Reply to  Alex
5 years ago

I’d venture to say the opposite is true. In a smaller country a gold medalist is a high profile athlete, where here they are further down the pecking order. He’s a national hero now and will get all kinds of endorsement opportunities

5 years ago

Many athletes have made money from winning at the Olympics and would love to see how they compare ( No endorsements)

Athletes that come to mind would be Munoz (68) Spitz (72) Salnikov (80) Nesty (88) Lopez Zubero (92) Thorpe (00) and Phelps among others. Some countries are better than others also helping their athletes. Obviously Singapore is helping Schooling which is great for him and the sport.

5 years ago

Guess he really needs that full scholarship now.

Go Singapore
5 years ago

Haha his Texas teammates who won gold are going to be so jealous of him when he makes almost $1 million compared to their minute $25k hahaha GO SCHOOLING

5 years ago

He should give Eddie Reese and Sergio Lopez a cut of the booty!!!

Reply to  mikeh
5 years ago

And Kris Kubick — nice retirement gift.

5 years ago
5 years ago

How the hell can Schooling take that and keep his eligibility????

Reply to  I_Said_It
5 years ago

Brush up on your reading comprehension and you might find out exactly “how”.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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