The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has millions rooting for athletes competing in various events for their country. The goal of every competitor is to take home the gold. While there is much glory associated with winning an Olympic gold medal, what is it really worth?
You’d think that bringing home the gold would bring home the riches as well. That is not primarily the case with many U.S. gold medalist winners. First place winners are awarded a total of $25,000, but a portion of that money is taxed.
Prizes awarded to winners
The U.S. ranks 17th in the world when compared to other countries for compensation awarded as part of the Olympic games, according to data collected from the AIPS (Association International De La Presse Sportive). The breakdown medal winners earn from the U.S. is as follows:
- Gold medal — $25,000
- Silver medal — $15,000
- Bronze medal –$10,000
The country that pays its winners the most is Kazakhstan. Gold medalists who come from that country earn approximately $250,000. There’s just one thing, out of the top five highest paying countries today, only two gold medals have been awarded to competitors from the high paying nations, and that was in pair skating. The top three paying countries (Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Italy) have yet to win any gold in the 2014 games.
Not all countries offer prizes to their winners; competitors from the UK, Sweden, Croatia, and Norway do not receive money for winning a medal in the Olympics.
Medal winners are most likely going to earn more than the cash prize awarded from their respective country. Most gold medalists receive endorsement deals soon after they arrive home. So it is safe to say that most contestants who win medals will still earn a good amount of money elsewhere.
The money awarded to players in countries like the U.S. is considered money earned abroad and is subject to being taxed. Therefore, players who take home gold, silver, or bronze will have to pay taxes.
Good news for the competitors, politicians are taking action to change current tax laws. Republicans Pete Sessions, Walter Jones, and Black Farenthold proposed a new bill called the Tax Exemptions for American Medalists Act, which would not tax Olympic medal winners. If passed, the bill could exempt this year’s Olympic winners from having to pay taxes.
The actual value of medals
What about the gold medal itself? How much is a gold medal worth? A gold medal weighs 531 grams, but only six grams of that is actual gold. The remaining amount is made of silver. Considering the current rate of gold — $41.47 a gram, a gold medal is worth $248.82. Let’s not count out the silver, which is valued at about $0.65 a gram, or a total of $341.25 inside each gold medal. Therefore, each gold medal is worth approximately $590.07.
Where do silver and bronze medals stack up compared to a gold? Silver medals are mostly composed of silver, and estimated to be worth a little more than $340. Bronze has very little value, since it is made up of mostly copper. Bronze medals are valued at a bit less than $5.
10 Fun facts about the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games
- Russia reportedly spent $51 billion to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
- NBC paid $775 million for exclusive U.S. television rights.
- Sponsors will pay NBC $800 million for advertisements during the games.
- A little less than 3,000 athletes are expected to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
- 3 billion people are expected to tune in and watch the games in Sochi.
- 98 events will take place, awarding 294 medals in total (that number is now 295 because two women tied for gold).
- Participants from 89 countries will compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
- Currently, America ranks number two (behind Norway) in total medal counts for overall Winter Olympic games.
- 230 U.S. competitors will participate in the events.
- The Sochi Olympic torch traveled over 65,000 kilometers for a total of 123 days.