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The value of an Olympic win

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Posted: 1 pm ET

The value of an Olympic medal is incalculable when considering what it personally represents to the top three athletes standing on the podium. But there's an actual cash value to an Olympic win.

The value of the medal itself is negligible. A gold medal, for example, contains only about 1.34 percent gold, with the remainder composed of 93 percent silver and about 6 percent copper, according to ABC. Based on current prices for precious metals, it comes to $650.

wealth-blog-olympic-rings-sochi-2014The real cash value of the iconic medal comes when a popular Olympian sells or auctions off his or her prize. ABC reports that a few years ago, Mark Wells, a member of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. men's hockey team, auctioned his gold medal for $310,700.

Bonus pay for top 3 winners

But beyond the medal, countries do pay their top athletes for a win. The U.S., according to SavingAdvice.com, pays Olympic winners a bonus of $25,000 for gold-medal wins, $15,000 for a silver and $10,000 for bronze.

The country that pays winners the most, by the way, is Azerbaijan. Gold-medal winners receive $510,000, silver medalists get $255,000 and bronze winners receive $130,000.

Unlike many other countries, however, the U.S. considers the bonus to be taxable income. So, depending on the income tax bracket of the winners, they won't pocket the entire amount. The Washington Post reports that those in the 39.6 percent bracket would pay about $9,900 in federal taxes for a gold medal, while a winner in the 28-percent bracket would pay $7,000.

Of course, the top Olympians in their field earn most of their financial glory from endorsements and sponsorships. And while snowboarding champ Shaun White didn't win gold in Sochi, his previous two gold medals and legendary status in his sport have garnered him an estimated net worth of $40 million, according to The Denver Post.

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1 Comment
Thomas Sheaffer
February 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm

these athletes train, sometimes there entire lives, I feel that they should be compensated fairly by the host country and also their home country.