It may come as a surprise to most people but winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics can mean a big payday in some countries. But not in America. Team USA athletes earn far less than some other countries.
As of Thursday morning, U.S. athletes have won 37 medals — 13 gold, 14 silver, and 10 bronze. And those winners will also earn a little green. Team USA pays its medalists $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver, and $15,000 for bronze, MSNBC reported. That’s up 50 percent since the 2016 Games in Rio, USA Today said. Each country decides how much — if anything — to give their athletes.
Singapore, a country that hasn’t medaled yet at the Tokyo Olympics, pays the most. Its athletes can take home nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for a gold medal. Though unlike the United States, Singapore taxes the winnings, and athletes are required to return some of it to fund the nation’s sports associations to help train future Olympians.
MSNBC spoke with the national Olympic committees from each nation to compile the list below.
Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first gold medal ever, and for that historic haul she’ll pick up a check for $600,000. About a third of that is coming from the country and the rest is being donated by The Philippines wealthiest businessman. AirAsia Philippines offered her free flights for life and benefactors have offered to buy her two homes, MSNBC said.
Only a Fraction of Athletes at Olympics Score Big
Hidilyn Diaz will return to The Phillippines as a national hero. She’ll likely earn a fortune from sponsors and endorsements. But that’s a rare case, as only a slim number of Olympians will return as national heroes.
Most American athletes at the Tokyo Olympics don’t have an agent or corporate sponsorships, MSNBC said. For example, Team USA badminton player Zhang Beiwen was forced to start a GoFundMe to help cover the $12,000 for training and training expenses, 360Badminton.com said.
While swimming phenom Katie Ledecky signed a $7 million deal with athletic clothing company TYR. She’s also a brand ambassador for Panasonic, Visa, Adidas, and several other major corporations, Yahoo News said.
But these massive endorsement deals are rare, as some athletes don’t have any sponsors at all, Forbes reported.
Zaileen Janmohamed, a senior official with Team USA, said about 60 percent of U.S. athletes make less than $25,000 a year and struggle to make ends meet. Because most of that money goes to pay for training and travel.