Do Olympians win prize money?


Have you ever wondered if Olympians win prize money? Or if it's just the medal, the glory, and a funny trophy they go home with?

Well the answer is, it depends. Each individual country is responsible for doling out prize money to its athletes, and can choose how much (if at all) it gives.

Surprisingly, Britain is one of the stingiest countries of the bunch. The British Olympic Association doesn't give a penny to its champion athletes - zilch, nada, nothing.

Jessica Ennis celebrates with her gold medal after winning the Heptathlon at the Olympic Stadium, London

By contrast, Singapore offers one million Singapore dollars to any athlete that brings home an individual gold medal, which is equivalent to £575,000.

The US also spends a lot of money on its athletes - $25,000 (£19,300) for a gold medal, $15,000 (£11,600) for silver and $10,000 (£7,700) for bronze. Though less than Singapore, the cost racks up quickly - the Asian nation hasn't won a single medal so far this Olympics, whereas the US stands top of the table at 38.

Michael Phelps has won four golds alone at these Olympics - no wonder he is one of the wealthiest athletes around.

Michael Phelps celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 200-metre individual medley during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics

Meanwhile in Azerbaijan it's not just the athletes that win a monetary prize - it's the coaches too! A gold medal would mean 400,000 AZN for the athlete, equivalent to £190,000, and 200,000 AZN for the coach, equivalent to £95,000, reported The Azerbaijan Press Agency.

Most other countries offer rewards into the thousands of pounds, even those countries closer to home that are certain to receive multiple medals - Fox Sports reports France, Russia and Germany as giving tens of thousands to their gold medallists, with Italy granting £140,000 to its winners.

It's not all doom and gloom for British athletes though: If a member of Team GB wins an Olympic medal, it puts them in "Band A" of the "podium level athletes" that UK Sport funds. It means that they are entitled to the maximum amount of grant, known as an "athlete performance award", which helps fund sports equipment and living costs between Olympic Games.

Katie Archibald, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell Shand set a new world record during the Women's Team Pursuit Qualifying at the Rio Olympic Velodrome

For those who don't win medals, prizes, grants or sponsorship, it can be a life of stress and worry.

Training and competing at the top level of sport costs thousands and thousands of pounds - the huge number of American athletes who set up GoFundMe pages in the run-up to Rio is testament to the prohibitive cost of attending the Games.

For now, the answer is obviously to become a Singaporean gold medallist.