Tokyo Olympics 2021: How Much Money Does USA Pay its Olympic Medal Winners?

Published 07/13/2021, 6:42 AM EDT
The Olympic Rings monument is seen outside the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) headquarters near the National Stadium, the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan June 23, 2021 on the day to mark one month until the opening of the Olympic Games. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The Tokyo Olympics 2021 will begin on July 23rd, 2021. Despite the delay in the schedule due to the ongoing pandemic, Japan looks ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world.


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Even though this year’s event will be behind closed doors, athletes look determined to win medals for their countries. Speaking of medals, a curious thought in each person’s mind is the value of these medals. While athletes are determined to win achieve their dreams and goals, the question arises of how much these medals are worth.

Nations all over the world have a different way of rewarding their victors for the Olympic events. The rewards differ amongst different countries, and some nations pay as much as a million dollars. Staggering.


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Different remuneration for Athletes across the world

While the Olympic aspirants train hard to win, the costs that lead up to training are quite high. Despite giving it their all, many countries reward their winners with money. But, the rewards given vary in different countries.

Singapore1,000,000 USD500,000 USD250,000 USD
Indonesia746,000 USD378,000 USD188,000 USD
Kazakhstan250,000 USD150,000 USD75,000 USD
Azerbaijan248,000 USD124,000 USD62,000 USD
Italy166,000 USD83,000 USD55,000 USD
Hungary125,000 USD89,000 USD71,000 USD
Russia61,000 USD38,000 USD26,000 USD
France55,000 USD22,000 USD14,000 USD
USA37,500 USD22,500 USD15,000 USD
South Africa37,000 USD19,000 USD7,000 USD
Germany22,000 USD17,000 USD11,000 USD
Canada15,000 USD11,000 USD8,000 USD

It is quite interesting to see the different ranges in which a country rewards its athletes. While the USA awards $37,500 for their gold medal winners, Singapore on the other hand, has a pot prize of $1 million.

Notably, when Joseph Schooling defeated Michael Phelps in the butterfly event in Rio 2016, the government offered him this reward. Maybe the presence of talented athletes in some nation’s forces the government to lower their cash prize, but these athletes train hard. Even though the athletes want to be medal winners for achieving their dreams, none can deny that rewards are important to the cause as well.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 11: Gold medalist Michael Phelps of the United States celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 200m Individual Medley Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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It is quite evident that most of these athletes train from their own pockets. The government doesn’t pay these athletes for training, and most athletes go bankrupt or do part-time jobs to move forward.

However, athletes take part in these events to fulfill their lifelong dreams and goals. Despite the difficulties, many athletes want to take part in the games because they become their nation’s undisputed heroes. Just ask Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – August 20: Gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica stands on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 4 x 100 meter Relay on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

By paying around just $15,000 for Bronze medallists, the US has a different approach for giving out rewards to winners. Surprisingly, if it is a team sport, the pot would have to be shared as the US Olympic committee give no extra money to the athletes.

Most of the athletes make money out of endorsements or sponsorships. But as these events don’t attract regular audiences, most of them go unnoticed after a few years.


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Interestingly, the gold medal weighs around 586 grams which comes close to $570. But, the gold medal given out actually comprises only six grams as it is a silver medal plated with gold.

Despite being paid comparatively less to other sports, the honor of representing your country in the Olympics makes one stand out from the rest.

These athletes train hard for an Olympic event, which happens once, every four years. The respect they deserve is immense. However, some may argue that they deserve better monetary benefits for their efforts.


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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.