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Some countries pay more than six figures to athletes who bring home a medal -- but not the U.S.

How much do countries pay their athletes who win Olympic medals? We’re taking a look

Hidilyn Diaz celebrates on her way to a gold medal and Olympic record in women's 55kg weightlifting.
Hidilyn Diaz celebrates on her way to a gold medal and Olympic record in women's 55kg weightlifting.

Many fans of the Olympics were understandably touched by the great athletic achievements in Tokyo, and it’s hard not to feel something, watching athletes get teary-eyed over winning a historic medal or hearing their country’s national anthem played on the podium after earning gold.

But while pride and patriotism are invaluable, emotionally, and the moments count toward the memories, athletes still need to pay for housing, food and transportation when they get home, which brings about one question: How much do athletes get paid for winning an Olympic medal?

Sure, endorsement deals can follow after winning a medal for your country, but it still is nice to have a flat reward from your country’s government or sports governing body when you bring back some hardware.

Here’s a breakdown of what certain countries pay athletes when they win a medal in the Summer Olympics, according to Forbes.


United States

American Olympians who win a gold medal get awarded $37,500. It’s $22,400 for a silver medal and $15,000 for a bronze medal in addition to grants and benefits such as health insurance.

The athlete who padded his or her bank account the most from the Tokyo Games was swimmer Caeleb Dressel, who won five gold medals and is due a payout of $187,500.

Countries in the $15,000-$70,000 range per gold medal include ...

Nations that are similar in pay to the United States for a gold medal performance are Japan ($45,000 for gold, $18,000 for silver, $9,000 for bronze), Australia, Canada, Brazil, Finland, Portugal, Serbia and Switzerland.

No pay at all for medals

In some countries, it truly is all about pride and patriotism, because they don’t offer any compensation for their Olympic medalists, who have to rely exclusively on endorsements or speeches to cash in on their Olympic fame. Examples of those countries are Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand.

Six-figure payouts in 10 countries

On the other side of the ledger from no pay is pay that could potentially set an athlete up for life.

There are 10 countries that provide a payout of six figures for a gold-medal performance, according to Forbes. Some countries even offer six-figure payouts for silver and bronze medals.

They are:

  • Singapore ($738,000, $500,000 for silver, $250,000 for bronze)
  • Taiwan ($716,000)
  • Indonesia ($346,000)
  • Bangladesh ($300,000, $150,000 for silver, $100,000 for bronze)
  • Kazakhstan ($250,000, $150,000 for silver, $75,000 for bronze)
  • Malaysia ($237,000, $71,000 for silver, $24,000 for bronze)
  • Italy ($214,000, $90,000 for silver, $60,000 for bronze)
  • Philippines ($200,000)
  • Hungary ($166,000, $118,000 for silver, $94,000 for bronze)
  • Kosovo ($119,000, $60,000 for silver, $40,00 for bronze)

The athlete who might have cashed in the most at the Tokyo Olympics was Hidilyn Diaz, a female weightlifter from the Philippines.

After winning that country’s first-ever gold medal in any event at any Olympics and the standard $200,000 that came with it, Diaz was given additional compensation from government officials, other individuals and companies that brought her earnings up to $970,000.

Diaz was also given a house, a condo unit, a van and unlimited flights on two airlines.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.