How much is an Olympic gold medal really worth? That depends.
In terms of the medal alone, the answer is $700, according to Bloomberg. A gold medal from the 2012 London Olympics actually contains more silver than gold — each gold medal is only required to have at least 6 grams of gold.
Most gold medalists do, however, get some type of cash payment along with their medallion, but the amount of money depends on the athlete’s country.
The U.S. pays $25,000 per gold medal, $15,000 for the silver and $10,000 for the bronze. That might seem chintzy compared to what other countries pay, but the U.S. also tends to have more medal winners than many of the countries that pay higher amounts.
Here’s a look at estimates for what a few countries pay their gold-medal champions.
Russia: $135,000 — although some reports say the regional government of Chelyabinsk Oblast will pay a gold medalist $1 million.
China: $55,000, plus myriad prizes
South Africa: $65,000
The U.K.: $0 — No, that’s not a typo. The host country isn’t paying incentives to this year’s medal winners. However, each gold medalist will have his/her face plastered on a Royal Mail postage stamp.
In addition to paid incentives from their country, the most popular top medal winners often sign lucrative endorsement deals.
Visit Bloomberg Businessweek to read the full report on the worth of Olympic gold medal.