Winning a gold, silver, or bronze medal is undoubtedly the pinnacle of any Olympic athlete’s career. Reaching the podium at the Olympics is one of the hardest things to do in all of the sports, given that it only happens every four years and that only a few athletes get to participate in the Summer Games. Just ask Hidilyn Diaz and Neeraj Chopra, who had to endure years of sacrifice and hard work before finally winning the coveted gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Athletes turned into millionaires: Which country offered the biggest rewards?
The International Olympic Committee might not offer monetary rewards to medal-winning athletes in the Olympics, but most countries do recognize and reward their returning sporting heroes. CNBC compiled data from national Olympic committees and sports associations recently from 12 select countries to see how much money their athletes could possibly make if they win a medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
Singapore led the list, which offered cash rewards of $737,000 for gold, $369,000 for silver, and $184,000 for bronze. Kazakhstan offered cash prizes of $250,000 for gold, $150,000 for silver, and $75,000 for bronze. Malaysia also offered handsome rewards, giving incentives worth $236,000 for gold, $71,000 for silver, and $24,000 for bronze.
Unfortunately, none of their athletes took home the gold in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. Striking it rich, though, were Italian athletes. Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI) awarded around $8.19 million in prize money to its champion athletes in Tokyo.
Italy won a total of 10 gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, with the winners getting $213,000 each. Italy also gave cash prizes of $107,000 each to its ten silver medalists and $71,000 each to its 20 bronze medalists.
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Hidilyn Diaz and Neeraj Chopra strike it rich after gold-medal-winning feats
The one who got the most attention, though, was Hidilyn Diaz from the Philippines. She gave her country its first-ever gold medal in the Olympics with a stunning victory in the women’s 55-kilogram category for weightlifting.
Diaz was lavished not only with praise but also with riches after her historic win. According to a local report, the 30-year-old Olympic champion is slated to receive a whopping $1.09 million from government and private companies as a reward for her gold medal win. Apart from that, Diaz will also receive house and lots, cars, lifetime free flights from Philippine Airlines and AirAsia, and even free food in some establishments.
Neeraj Chopra also got a massive windfall when he won India’s lone gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in men’s javelin throw. Chopra will receive around $1.75 million from government and business companies because of his historic feat. Indian airline IndiGo also announced that it would provide Chopra unlimited free travel for one year.
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