How much is an Olympic Gold Medal worth? | Strangest Moments

How much is an Olympic Gold Medal worth? | Strangest Moments

Let’s start with a question
you’ve been dying to ask. Just how much money do these
athletes make? At the top end of Olympic
sports, a relatively small number of
big names earn substantial
amounts in endorsement and appearance contracts. Out on his own is sprint champ
Usain Bolt, who earns a small fortune per
year and a big fortune in an
Olympic year. And the Jamaican’s earnings are
matched or surpassed by some of the sport’s professionals who join in every four years. The team events are awash with fat salaries. The Canadian ice hockey team, which won gold at Sochi 2014, had a combined annual income
of $150 million US. While the US basketball squad
for Rio 2016 is maybe the wealthiest group of
athletes ever assembled. So how much do athletes
actually get paid for winning a medal at
the Olympic Games? The answer is… nothing. Zero. No win bonus.
No appearance fee. No cash prize. You get your travel expenses,
food and lodging, some kit, and that’s about it. For the Olympics,
you don’t get paid to play – an idea that goes back to the amateur tradition of
the 19th century. It’s the spirit of
gentlemanly conduct that so seduced Pierre,
Baron de Coubertin, the Frenchman who founded the modern Olympic
movement in 1896. His beliefs were typical of his
time and his class. Sport was no place for professionals. A gentlemen seeks no reward for
his success on the playing field. While there was much to admire
about these principles, there is another way of looking
at the amateur code as more than a touch
self-interested. Only gentlemen could be
amateurs because only gentlemen could
afford to be amateurs. Those who couldn’t leave their
jobs for months at a time were not considered worthy of
these Olympic values. Even those who earnt a modest
living by coaching sports like
fencing or skiing were barred
from participation. It wasn’t until 1992 that professional athletes were openly welcomed into
the Olympic Games. But not before sports
administrators had, over several decades, tied themselves in knots trying
to defend the principles of amateurism. At times, it led to some
decisions we would today consider
a bit strange. Take the great decathlete
Jim Thorpe, born on a Native American
reservation in Oklahoma in 1887. Thorpe grew up without any of the privileges enjoyed by
the gentlemen amateurs. He was an exceptionally gifted
all-round athlete. At the 1912 Olympic Games in
Stockholm, he won the decathlon
and pentathlon gold medals, earning a fine tribute from
King Gustav of Sweden. The following year,
it emerged that Thorpe, 25, had played semi-professional
baseball as a teenager. The US Amateur Athletic Union immediately stripped Thorpe
of his gold medals. For the sake of $2 a day,
Thorpe was publicly humiliated and barred from future
participation in the Olympic Games. Excluded from athletics, Thorpe tried his hand at the
new sports craze in the United States, playing in a competition known
today as the NFL. Just a few years later, footballers from all over the
world were looking forward to
travelling to the Olympic Games
at Amsterdam. The 1924 football tournament
in Paris had been an enormously popular,
generating tons of cash. The football associations asked for a small share of that
income to help pay their costs for
travel and accommodation – expensive for a footballer
travelling to Europe from, say, Uruguay. They weren’t asking for prize
money or appearance money, yet the IOC said no. “Any contribution to cost
would,” they said,
“breach the amateur code.” England’s Football Association
was so appalled by the request they withdrew their
Olympic football team. The conflict led to football
being banned from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic
Games altogether. Disappointed by this exclusion, the international football
associations went on to form their own football
event, a competition we know today as
the Fifa World Cup. Today, no-one really argues
about the professional versus amateur
issue. Allowing professionals to take
part in the Olympics has not damaged the
competition’s popularity or its integrity. The ideals which de Coubertin
thought exclusive to the amateur code are now shared
throughout Olympic sport. The lack of prize money remains
an important symbol of the amateur ideal. As for Jim Thorpe,
he died penniless in 1953. 30 years later,
Thorpe’s two surviving children were awarded a commemorative
Olympic medal in honour of their father’s
achievement. It was a symbolic gesture which
would eventually lead to the acceptance of professional
athletes at the Olympic Games. So when you see athletes on
the podium, you can be sure they’re not
thinking about the prize money because there isn’t any. They’re thinking about their
family, friends, team-mates, coaches and the honour of representing
their country at the Olympic Games.

91 Replies to “How much is an Olympic Gold Medal worth? | Strangest Moments”

  1. This is cool but when are you going to upload the 2018 OLYMPIC women's gold medal hockey game???

  2. Just because there isn't any direct prize money doesn't mean they don't make any for doing well at the olympics

  3. Some countries offer their medallist a monthly allowance for life after winning a medal so, this video is kind of incorrect. Would be nice if those athletes were purely driven by success and honour but a little extra cash won't damage them.

  4. How noble of the Olympics to pay these athletes who bring them so much revenue absolutely nothing.

  5. Interesting video. Just not what the title suggests the video would be about. How much do the medals cost to make?

  6. Sure some countries give a bonus, but that's only every four years. Being an athlete is expensive regardless of the sport. The IOC makes billions per Olympic games and then there's Paralympic athletes that struggle to even make ends meet.

  7. Isn’t the whole point of the olympics for the best athletes in the world to compete against each other? Who cares if they get paid or not… it shouldn’t affect if they can participate or not

  8. In our country, the philippines, the gov't gives P10million (US$215,000more or less depending on currency rates) silver is P5million,(given to hidelyn diaz, a weightlifter in rio olympics).. P2million for bronze., and also,just like diaz, other local governments gave money to her

  9. What is the fine for taking Steroids? Read yesterday that the 4 by 100 team has been disqualified from 2008 in Beging

  10. Well im also not paid to get myself to get cramp leg arms body and broken bones and jumpping as high as a bird

  11. Alright then, since the title is a bit misleading I googled it. Based on the recent 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the (mixed) metal of the gold medal is worth $572, silver for $320, and bronze for $3.50 (it's a copper alloy). Medal design changes every Olympics so worth does change. Of course if you auction it off, you'll fetch a higher price (sometimes as much as $20k+). Not to mention your home country can award you money if you win (US gave out $37.5 k for a gold). So there, the answer is $572.

  12. Man I watched a 6 minute video to see how much the Olympic medals are actually worth. Like money. As in if someone was selling one how much would it be reasonable to sell at. Bronze silver or gold

  13. Olympics gives lots of money to athlete who won medals but IOC never told this because this is hide talking

  14. The higher you place the more sponsors you get, the more sponsors you get the higher you're paid. Also, countries pay their athletes for medalling.

  15. Wrong! Some countries actually give compensation or rewards for athletes that won, for example, Joseph Schooling was awarded $1 million from the government for winning a gold medal in the 100m bitterly in Rio 2016.

  16. I wanna ask a question about the professional vs amateur issue:
    Should professionals compete in the Special Olympics? Yes or No, and why?

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