2014 Winter Olympics: USA Medal Winners Make Far Less Than Other Countries

By Andrew Fisher
Sochi medal count
Getty Images

When most fans think about athletes winning gold at the Olympic Games, they don’t associate those wins with big pay days. Sure, a gold medal-winning athlete is more marketable than someone who hasn’t won gold (in most cases) — but did you know that athletes from many countries get bonuses for wins in the Olympics? It’s true, and some of the countries pay out some pretty fat bonuses.

Check out this data from bloomberg.com, which shows the top gold medal payout amounts for countries participating in the 2014 Sochi Games:

Kazakhstan – $250,000

Latvia – $192,800

Italy – $189,800

Belarus – $150,000

Estonia – $138,500

Russia – $113,200

Switzerland – $88,600

Czech Rep. – $73,900

France – $67,800

South Korea – $62,000

Slovakia – $60,800

Finland – $40,600

Netherlands – $40,600

Poland – $38,330

Japan – $29,300

Slovenia – $27,000

USA – $25,000

Austria – $21,600

Germany – $20,300

Canada – $17,900

Australia – $13,000

**No Bonuses** Croatia, Norway, Sweden, UK

As you can see, Kazakhstan isn’t messing around when it comes to Olympic pay days. America, however, doesn’t exactly hook its athletes up with a life-altering amount of money for taking home the gold. Still, the fact that Olympians actually get something for their time and dedication is a pretty cool concept. Training for the Games is life for most of the athletes and many of them don’t have time for other pursuits or careers.

It should also be noted that all the countries that pay out for gold medals, also pay out for silver and bronze medals in lower increments.

One of the most interesting notes from this piece from Bloomberg is that some countries offer a ‘pension’ type of bonus, which allows the athletes to essentially set themselves up with monthly payments for life.

If you’re wondering, Kazakhstan hasn’t had an athlete win gold yet.


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