People are shocked at how much Olympians get paid if they don't win a medal 2 months ago

People are shocked at how much Olympians get paid if they don't win a medal

There's a reason more than half don't consider themselves financially stable...

Athletes put their heart and soul into an Olympics. Competing in the sport they love, with four years of preparation and build-up often coming down to one day, one hour, one moment. The difference between glory and devastation.

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But it's not just a place in the history books that many of them are chasing. For many, a medal means that they will leave the games with some financial reward.

US athletes for example aren't paid for being at the games. Only those that win medals receive a financial sum.

Olympians in the US receive an untaxed $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze. Finish anywhere else? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Which helps explain why a survey of 500 professional athletes found that 60 per cent did not consider themselves financially stable.

Some Olympians can get stipends though. According to Business Insider, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee pay bronze medallist in the women’s team sabre event Monica Aksamit $300 (USD) per month. The maximum an athlete can earn is $4,000 every month, but the rate depends on how well the athlete performs and how popular the sport is.

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The biggest stars from the biggest sports will make most of their money from sponsorships and brand deals. But athletes from the more obscure sports that receive less mainstream attention often need extra jobs to pay the bills and fund their Olympic dream.

Even in the most popular sports such as track and field, there is still not a lot of profit though. In 2012, Business Insider found that nearly half of track and field athletes made $15,000 or less.

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So next time someone decides to criticise an athlete for celebrating a silver or bronze because "real champions don't celebrate third," maybe bear in mind that there may be more significance behind that bronze than just a place on the podium.

For some, it will mean they can continue playing the sport they love for the next few years.