Not all athletes are created equal, apparently. A recent study showed that Olympic medalists get different cash prizes depending on the country.
The recent Rio Summer Olympics has put in the spotlight new faces such as Joseph Schooling and Simone Biles and old ones such as Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. While the more recognized ones understandably get substantial pay thanks partly to their giant endorsements, most athletes only look towards the government for compensation.
Countries all around the globe honor their athletes in vastly different ways. So which country is the best country to be an Olympic medalist from? Let’s find out.
Taiwan, while not an official country and competing under the banner of Chinese-Taipei, is still on the list as the biggest compensator of their gold medalist. The sole gold winner of this year’s Olympics, weight lifter Hsu Shu-ching, received a whopping 30 million New Taiwan dollar or approximately $950,000 awarded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education.
The home of the merlion is known as one of the cities with the highest cost of living. Appropriately, it’s also the second biggest prize giver for their gold medalist. This year, Singapore has made history after they received their first-ever gold medal in the Olympics thanks to Joseph Schooling who won by beating superstar swimmer Michael Phelps. He received a total of 1 million Singapore dollars or $746,000.
The government of Indonesia has recently announced that it will give 5 billion Indonesian rupiah or $376,000 to its gold medalists. This cash prize will be shared by badminton mixed doubles champions Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad.
Here in Thailand, the government reportedly rewards their gold medalists with 10 million baht or $287,000. That cash prize comes fourth in the highest payer of winners of gold medals. Silver medalists, meanwhile, receive 6 million baht or $173,000. In the history of the Olympics, Thais have won almost 30 medals with the 2004 Olympics being the most successful with 8 medals, three of them were gold. Most of their wins are from weightlifting and boxing. In fact, the latest event has given athletes in weightlifting and taekwondo a total of 6 medals. Weight lifters Sukanya Srisurat and Sopita Tanasan won gold.
If you’ll notice, the more scarce the medals are, the higher the cash prize from the government. This is because nations that rarely win in the Olympics use the cash incentives as a motivation to for their athletes to win.