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  • MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

These 13 Countries Are Forking Over $1 Million Or More For Their Olympic Medal Winners

When Chase Kalisz slammed into the wall in swimming’s 400-meter individual medley on July 24—a body length ahead of his closest competitor—he gave the United States its first medal of the Tokyo Olympics. The Americans didn’t let up from there, with super-heavyweight boxer Richard Torrez Jr. claiming a final silver on Sunday to push the U.S.’s tally to 113 medals, 25 ahead of second-place China.

It was an impressive haul—the U.S.’s fourth-highest total in its 125-year Summer Olympic history, filled with superlative performances, from Caeleb Dressel’s five golds in the pool to Simone Biles’ moving return on the balance beam to Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad’s epic duel in the 400-meter hurdles. For each of those medals, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee has pledged to pay out sizable bonuses: $37,500 for a gold, $22,500 for a silver and $15,000 for a bronze.

Altogether, the USOPC will end up disbursing $7.84 million, thanks to the sheer number of trips to the podium by American athletes, who receive the same bonus whether they won as an individual or as a member of a team. For instance, the eight swimmers who competed in the men’s 4x100-meter medley relay across qualifying and the final will get $37,500 apiece for their victory while the 22 members of the U.S. women’s soccer team will each collect $15,000 for their third-place finish. That comes on top of the financial assistance that the committee supplies in the form of training grants and health insurance. (Don’t worry, taxpayers: The committee receives no government funds, instead relying on the sale of media and sponsorship rights and donations to the Team USA Fund.)

While some nations—Britain, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden among them—don’t pay a dime to their athletes in medal bonuses, many do, including powerful Olympic programs like Australia, Canada and France. Some smaller nations offer much bigger bonuses, with Singapore willing to shell out roughly $738,000 to gold medalists and Malaysia offering a one-time payment of $237,000 plus a monthly allowance for life. But those countries typically don’t win many medals, if any, and therefore don’t have to pay out too much.

China hasn’t publicized the figures for its medal bonuses since it paid out $51,000 to gold medalists at the 2008 Beijing Games. Reports suggest it probably offers less now, but with more golds and more total medals in Tokyo than any nation besides the U.S., it very likely paid out more than most countries. Russia, which came in third in terms of total medals, likewise did not respond to a request for comment on how much it is paying.



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