Are Olympic athletes paid? Staggering amount winning gold medal is worth

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Olympics 2020 debuted on July 23, after a year-long Covid delay. Given the disease remains ever-present, Tokyo organisers have forged ahead with spectator-less events. Some aspects of the games haven’t changed at all, however, namely athlete salaries.

Are Olympic athletes paid?

Olympians are the world’s most elite athletes, record holders and popular figures.

They continually set the bar for physical excellence, and it may come as no surprise that they receive generous compensation.

But they don’t get straightforward “Olympic salaries”, as their money comes through several potential avenues.

Olympic medals

The first and most prestigious method of payment open to Olympic athletes come from the games themselves.

Olympic and Paralympic competitors receive compensation relative to their success, with gold earning the highest and bronze the lowest.

But it won’t come directly from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as countries will choose whether or not to reward gold, silver and bronze medal wins.

Amounts provided per medal vary per country.

For example, gold medal winners in the US could bag more than $37,000 (£26,783).

Their Singaporean peers gain much more, roughly $1 million (£723,885) for a gold medal.

Canada currently resides at the bottom end of the scale, providing a $15,000 (£10,858) incentive for gold medals.

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Successful Olympic athletes also bring a significant amount of clout.

Their newfound fame will naturally garner considerable interest from companies, who may look to pay the national star for their brand.

Sports companies such as Nike and Adidas may employ athletes, helping create an income in the four years between Olympic appearances.

Home country aid

Some countries that don’t provide medals may support their athletes through government funding.

For example, the UK earmarks roughly £125 million worth of public and lottery funding for Olympic and Paralympic athletes – £26,000 of which goes to individual medallist stipends.

The most successful countries at the Olympics often have industrious government-backed training programmes.

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