Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The REWARDS of Being an OLYMPIAN Today

Supposedly an Olympic athlete should be an amateur, in the sense that aside from the tokens of recognition accorded him by the Games’ organizers, he should not have to receive anything else for his deeds. That just isn’t feasible anymore. Even in the 1948 London Olympics, when Fanny “Flying Housewife” Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands won four track and field gold medals, she received a reward in kind from the grateful city of Amsterdam: a new bicycle.

Today that seems like poor compensation. In comparison another Dutchwoman, Dafne Schippers, sees generous cash rewards and product sponsorships at the end of a medal-winning performance in Rio. Almost every Olympian has that in store from their home country’s national Olympic committee or association, not to mention private businesses too.

In a feature story by CNN, there are some countries which are ready and willing to shower any Olympic medalists in their delegations with the most generous incentives and prizes. Quite notably, the smaller a nation, the more likely they will shell out some oodles of cash to any sportsman who can bring home an Olympic medal or two.

A graph by CNN shows that the largest monetary reward by a country for a gold-winning Olympian…comes from a place that is not even a country by strict definition. This is Taiwan, known in the Olympic Games as “Chinese Taipei” in upholding the “One China Policy” with the People’s Republic of China. The Taiwan Olympic Committee and Ministry of Education has put together a swanky prize package for their gold-medalist lady weight-lifter Hsu Shu-ching, to the nice tune of $952,000. Running in second place for generosity is the island nation of Singapore, which presented Joseph Schooling with a $746,000 cash reward for his gold from the Men’s 100-meter butterfly final.

The trend continues in Asian countries for the rest of the top five, with Indonesia ($382,000) in third, Thailand ($290,000) in fourth, and Malaysia ($251,000) in fifth. Sixth place jumps to the New  World with host nation Brazil offering $250,000 to gold medalists from their home soil.

All this is quite surprising considering the sports superpowers have cash rewards that just pale in comparison. Speaking of China, they only offer $36,000 for each Olympic gold medalist from Rio. The US Olympic Committee will dole out $25,000 a pop, and that value is taxable. But that pales in comparison to the UK, which goes by “Great Britain” at the Games. Their 50 gold medalists from the recently- concluded Olympics will not get a penny from either their NOC or the government, as it’s supposed to be understood that they competed in the Games for both the glory of their country and their sincere love of their sports.

Then again, some rewards are not in the form of money. Notable in-kind prizes can range from a new apartment or land, having public structures named after a lucky medalist…or when in Belarus, the offer of a processed meat company for a lifetime supply of sausages.

Photo Credit to www.dailymail.co.uk


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