Joseph Schooling is going to take home US$753,000 for his Gold Medal winning effort this morning. Not only is he the first Singaporean to win a Gold, but this event is also the first time the second place (Silver Medal) is shared by 3 participants, including the favourite Phelps.
If you’re at the top of the podium and the Singaporean national anthem plays — which would be a first: of the four medals the country’s Olympians have ever won, not one has been gold — you’ll walk away with glory and a $753,000 bonus. And that is what Joseph Schooling did today.
That’s nearly 30 times more money than you would earn winning the same medal if you were competing for the U.S. Olympic Team, which in Rio has racked up 11 golds among its world-beating 32 overall medals as of midday Thursday.
In contrast, the U.S. has won 1,071 gold medals and 2,698 total medals since the 1896 games in Athens — the kickoff of the Olympics’ modern era — not including the medals won in Rio, where the likes of Goldman Sachs and PricewaterhouseCoopers have forecast the U.S. will garner more than 100 medals.
Other countries, including the U.K., don’t offer cash bonuses to medalists.
As competition continues in Rio, executives with the International Olympic Committee and at national sports federations have come under scrutiny over how little of the money generated by the Games trickles down to the athletes.
Of course, top athletes in the most popular sports can rack up millions through endorsements, sponsorships and paid appearances. Gymnast Gabby Douglas has a reported net worth of $3 million, while swimmer Michael Phelps boasts a reported net worth of $55 million.