How much money do Olympic athletes make?

I’ve been watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics here in Japan. It’s interesting because I’m hooked on sports I didn’t watch in the past like ping pong, badminton, and judo along with my regular favorites. Of course everything is from the view of the Japanese team which is a lot of fun since I haven’t watched the Olympics in another country before.

I’ve always wondered how much Olympic athletes get paid, so I did some searching. If you’re representing Singapore and win a gold medal, expect $1 Million USD. The financial support varies from country to country, so I’ll be focusing on Team USA since that’s the team I’m most familiar with.

I read the PDF file from TeamUSA that has a lot of details about reimbursement and income. Here are the main money makers.

Gold Medal: $25,000
Silver Medal: $15,000
Bronze Medal: $10,000

Here’s a basic breakdown of what each US Olympic Athlete gets for the 2008 Beijing Olympics :

  • Competition & Camp Expenses (airline – United VIK, room/board &
    accreditation fees)
  • Monthly Stipends
  • Performance Incentives
  • OTC Resident Program
  • Elite Athlete Health Insurance (EAHI)
  • NIKE Apparel

This is only what the country is giving athletes. Monthly stipends range from $250-2000 per month, so I’m sure a lot of athletes have jobs while they’re training. And there’s a lot more money to be made with endorsement deals and bonuses too. Speedo is awarding a $1 million bonus to Michael Phelps if he ties Mark Spitz’s 1972 gold medal record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics (from CNBC), and 21 year old Usain Bolt from Jamaica received a $1.8 million bonus from his sponsor Digicel for breaking the 100 meter race world record back in May (link to picture).

I know not everybody is getting rich, but just like any other sport, it’s interesting to see who is.

You can read more about the Olympics Team USA at TeamUSA.org. You can also see the current Beijing overall medal count here and here’s the count sorted by Gold medals. co(Image above is courtesy of M@rcopako)

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