Gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of Philippines (C), silver medalist Liao Qiuyun of China (L) and bronze medalist Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan attend the awarding ceremony of the women’s 55kg weightlifting event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]
As a reward for her historic achievement, Diaz will reportedly receive at least 33 million Philippine pesos (around $600,000) from the Philippine Sports Commission as well as the country’s top businessmen. She has also been offered two homes and free flights for life, according to reports.
Olympic medal bonuses
Why some athletes earn more
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee rewards athletes $37,500 for every gold medal won, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze. Most of that prize money is not taxable unless athletes report gross income that exceeds $1 million.
US athletes also receive other forms of support including health insurance, access to top-tier medical facilities and college tuition assistance.
In comparison, Singapore rewards its gold medalists nearly 20 times more than the US Players who clinch their first individual gold medal for the city-state stand to receive 1 million Singapore dollars ($737,000). The prize money is taxable and awardees are required to return a portion of it to their national sports associations for future training and development.
Malaysia also has hefty rewards for its Olympic winners.
Athletes who win gold receive 1 million ringgit ($236,149), while silver winners are awarded 300,000 ringgit, and 100,000 ringgit is given to athletes who win bronze. In dollar terms, a Malaysian Olympic bronze winner will receive a higher performance reward than a gold winner from Australia or Canada.
China’s Yang Qian takes aim during the women’s 10-meter air rifle competition at Asaka Shooting Range at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan on Saturday. [Photo/Xinhua]
How athletes make money
Beyond receiving monetary and non-monetary rewards from their countries for winning medals, Olympians rely on other revenue streams for their sporting endeavors.
Athletes from bigger, more competitive countries receive stipends or training grants from their national sports associations. Top performers collect prize money by winning national and international tournaments. Others draw regular salary by holding a variety of jobs.
A handful of athletes may score multimillion dollar endorsements or sponsorship deals, either before competing at the Olympics or after achieving success in the Games. For example, tennis star Naomi Osaka reportedly made $55 million from endorsements in 12 months, and was named the highest-paid female athlete ever, according to reports.
Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates winning against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the women’s singles final match on day 13 of the 2020 US Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, US on Sept 12, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]
But scoring lucrative deals is rare, and hardly the norm.
One profitable career move for some athletes is to go into coaching after retirement as people are willing to pay a premium for former Olympians.