How Countries Reward Olympians


Rio Olympics 2016 are underway with all its glory and controversies. Athletes from around 200 countries are fighting it out for medals in 26 sports. Have you ever wondered what is at stake for medal winners ?

“Do Olympic medalists receive cash prizes along with the medals ?”

Well, in most of the cases yes but the athletes don’t receive any prize money from Olympics committee, but its their national Olympic federation who award prizes which are disclosed before the tournament. Lets take a look at cash prizes awarded by different federations.

Rio Olympics 2016 medals value
So the cash prize awarded to athletes are different from country to country and the usual big guns like United States only offer around $25,000 for winning the gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for Bronze  while Azerbaijan award $510,000 to the winner of gold,  $255,000 for silver and $130,000 for bronze.

But you have to take into account that athletes who wins Gold for USA, UK, Australia etc can hit a jackpot in terms of endorsement deals which can be much more cash rewarding compared to just the one off payment. For example, swimmer Michael Phelps pocketed about 5 million dollars for a contract with Under Armour. Gymnast Simone Biles has racked up over $4 million in endorsement deals with huge companies like Nike, Kellogg’s, Hershey’s and Procter & Gamble and has started her own gymnastics equipment and clothing lines. It would be interesting to see if Kenyan companies will be lining up endorsement deal for Kenyan athletes who win gold in Rio.

Before we explain which federations pays the most we take a look at how much the Olympic medals are worth ?

Value of Summer Olympics Medals:

  1. Gold: $600 (The gold medal consist of just 1% of actual gold, 92.5% silver and 6.16% copper).
  2. Silver: $325 (While in silver medal, the gold is replaced by more copper rest meterial is the same like gold medal)
  3. Bronze: $3 (Bronze medal however is 97% copper and 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin)

Thats the actual worth of raw material used in the medal but of course if athletes were to sell/auction their medals they will get alot more than just the face value of material.

Cash Money Rewards for Olympic Medalists:

Here are some of the highest paying federations in Oympics. Most of the countries award lump sum payments but some countries like Philippines and Thailand award cash prized which are staple income over 20 years. Only a handful of countries ward cash prized to silver and bronze medalists while most federations only award prized for gold winners. The competitiveness of a country like China makes it impossible to reward athletes who win any other medal other than a gold; for China, there is only one medal that matters-gold. There are rumors that Bahrain rewards gold medalists $400,000.

Highest cash rewards paid by different national Olympic federations
1 Singapore S$1 million (US $757,000) $370,000 $189,000
2 Malaysia A solid gold bar worth (around $600,000) $300,000 $150,000
3 Azerbaijan $510,000 $255,000 $130,000
4 Kazakhstan $250,000 $150,000 $75,000
5 Thailand  $314,000 (over 20 years period)
6 Philippines  $237,000 (over 20 years period)
7 Kyrgyzstan $200,000
8 Latvia $190,000
9 Italy $189,800 $95,000 $50,000
10 Uzbekistan $150,000
11 Belarus $150,000
12 Ukraine $150,000
13 Russia $180,000 $90,000 $45,000
14 Australia  $126,000
15 Tajikistan  $63,000
16 France $65,000
17 China  $31,400
18 USA  $25,000
19 Germany  $19,500
20 United Kingdom no cash prized awarded by Britain’s Olympic Committee
OTHER COUNTRIES Almost all the countries award cash prized to medalist in some form


From the above, Singaporean Joseph Schooling who defeated Michael Phelps in Men’s 100m butterfly (swimming) is set for a great pay day!