Winning a medal at the Olympics is obviously a big deal…at least from a pride standpoint. Because the money athletes make for a gold...not as much as you might think.
Unlike other countries-- the U.S. Olympic Committee and its programs don't receive any financial assistance from the government.
They're funded by donations and sponsorships. It's why medalists in other countries, get bigger paydays, sometimes even a car or a house. But still...winning a spot on the podium, can be life changing.
The 244 American athletes competing at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang aren't getting paid to perform.
But if they do well, they can make some money
Each Gold medal will get them $37,500 dollars, $22,500 dollars for Silver, and $15,000 for Bronze.
In team sports, they split the pot evenly among the athletes.
That's 50% more money than they got at the 2016 Summer Games. And now, their winnings won't be taxed if their gross income is one million dollars or less.
But in other countries, like China, athletes get big bonuses. After the 2012 Games, China's golden swimmers, Sun Yang and Ye Shi-wen, were each given 1,500-square foot apartments as a gift from a local developer according to their local media.
In Singapore, gold medalists take $1,000,000 for Gold, $500,000 for Silver and $250,000 for Bronze.
Although this year they only had one athlete who could capitalize on the bonus, Speed Skater Cheyenne Goh. She finished 5th.
And prize money matters.
While big names like Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn make considerable money from endorsement deals, a handful of Olympians are stretched thin financially.
U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon, who earned a medal last week, tweeted he was once broke and stole apples from his gym to save money.
Some U.S. athletes rely on stipends from the U.S. Olympic Committee to cover necessities like rent and food.
Speed skater Mitch Whitmore told NerdWallet, a fourth place finish at a
key competition last year granted him 9 months of money to cover training and living expenses.
If he had won third, he said he would have gotten a lot more money.
It's why many athletes rely on part-time jobs or crowdfunding to cover costs.
But almost every athlete will say, the pride of competing on the Olympic stage is priceless.
With that in mind, the value of melting down a Gold medal from this year’s games according to www.coins.com is about $577 dollars. A Silver, about $320 dollars. While a Bronze medal—which is made of a copper alloy—is worth only $3.50.