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Tokyo 2020: How Much Do Olympians Get For Gold, Silver And Bronze Medals?

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Tokyo 2020: How Much Do Olympians Get For Gold, Silver And Bronze Medals?

Team GB has seen some fantastic wins at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics so far this year, with many gold, silver and bronze medals already in the bag. So one question remains: how much do Olympians earn for winning medals?

Team GB brought home an impressive 67 medals from the Rio 2016 Olympics - 27 of those were gold. This year, UK Sport, the leading body which funds the Olympic programme for GB, has set a slightly lower target of between 45-70 medals in Tokyo.

As of 2nd August 2021, Team GB had secured 33 medals, ranking 6th place, with plenty of opportunities to reach their target in the coming weeks.

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How much do Olympic athletes earn?

The amount of money an athlete is paid for winning a medal at the Olympics varies enormously between countries around the world.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) itself doesn't give cash rewards to any of the winning athletes. However, they do provide the medals and an Olympic diploma to all athletes who finish in the top eight, according to The Independent.

Some athletes are paid by their home Olympic committees if they win a bronze, silver or gold medal. While some will be paid millions though, others aren't given any more than their travel expenses to the games.

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How much do Team GB athletes earn for winning medals?

Most of the money that is paid to Olympians is from corporate sponsorships and not government funding. And some athletes aren't paid money based on their winnings at the games, but they are given a stipend to train for the games. That's the case with the UK.

Tom Daley and Matty Lee winning gold medals for the men's 10m synchronised dive. (Credit: PA)
Tom Daley and Matty Lee winning gold medals for the men's 10m synchronised dive. (Credit: PA)

According to research by moneyunder30.com, Team GB athletes aren't paid any money for bringing home medals, but £125 million of government and lottery funds are devoted to Olympic and Paralympic sports each year, some of which goes to annual athlete stipends.

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A British Olympic Association spokesman told the Daily Telegraph in 2016: "It is our view that financial rewards do not significantly impact the motivation of an athlete to reach the Olympic podium.

"We believe that the drive, dedication and commitment required of Team GB athletes is motivated, first and foremost, by the desire to represent their country to the very best of their ability on the greatest sporting stage in the world, the Olympic Games; and their love of sport."

Cycling currently has the most funding, with nearly £25.6 million in the cash pot, while other sports have much less funding. Karate, for example, only has £636,000 in funds. You can see the full breakdown of funding for individual sports for Tokyo 2020 here.

Which country pays the most to Olympic athletes?

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Singapore currently pays the most generously to medal winners at the Olympics. A gold medalist will be paid $744,000 (£535,192), for silver it's $372,000 (£267,635), and for bronze, it's $286,000 (£205,762).

Singapore's Yu Mengyu celebrates after winning the table tennis women's singles quarterfinal match against Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (Credit: PA)
Singapore's Yu Mengyu celebrates after winning the table tennis women's singles quarterfinal match against Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (Credit: PA)

Australia has the lowest medal bonus in 2021 of $15,100 (£10,863) for gold, $11,400 (£8,200) for silver and $7,600 (£5,467) for bronze.

Somewhere in the middle, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee pays members of Team USA $37,500 (£26,975) for each gold medal, $22,500 (£16,185) for every silver, and $15,000 (£10,790) for a bronze.

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Members of Team USA pose with the bronze medals during the awarding ceremony for the fencing men's foil team event at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Credit: PA)
Members of Team USA pose with the bronze medals during the awarding ceremony for the fencing men's foil team event at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Credit: PA)

However, Team USA's athletes are supported in other ways. For example, all athletes are provided with free health insurance and there's also the opportunity to apply for special grants, such as the college tuition assistance grant.

The same goes for Malaysia, which pays athletes $241,000 (£173,362) for a gold medal, $72,200 (£51,936) for a silver and $24,100 (17,336) for a bronze. In addition, Malaysian medalists are also paid monthly salaries for life. Those salaries are $1,182 (£850) for gold medalists, $709 (£510) for silver medalists, and $473 (£340) for bronze medalists - not bad.

Despite the big paydays which could come from winning an Olympic medal, many athletes don't have a steady income and their efforts are therefore made even more impressive by the lack of a financial incentive and pure determination to make their country proud.

Featured Image Credit: olympics.com

Laura Sanders
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