Brutal $1.5 million reality for Australia's Olympic medal winners

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Maddy Wilson and Leah Neal, pictured here with their medals after the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Olympics.
Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Maddy Wilson and Leah Neal pose with their medals after the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Olympics. (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Unfortunately for Australia's athletes, the monetary prize that comes with winning a medal at the Olympics is drastically lower than some other countries.

Singapore offers a ridiculous $1 million prize for any athlete who can win gold on sport's biggest stage, as we saw when Joseph Schooling shocked Michael Phelps to win the 100m butterfly at the Rio OIympics in 2016.

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Hong Kong dishes out $875,000 for a gold medal, while Indonesia and Thailand both offer more than $400,000.

Philippines’ first-ever gold medallist Hidilyn Diaz pocketed $890,000 and was given a house after her weightlifting heroics in Tokyo.

But for Australia's athletes it's very different.

The Aussies are given $20,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.

It's understandable considering Australia will always win many more medals than the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong, but it might still be a bitter pill to swallow for the athletes.

With four gold medals and three bronze in Tokyo, swimmer Emma McKeon became Australia's most decorated Olympian of all time, taking her career tally to 11 medals.

She became just the second female athlete in any sport to win seven medals at one Olympics and joined Ian Thorpe as the only Australians to win five gold across a career.

She made herself a cool $110,000 as a result, but even the United States offers a bigger monetary reward.

America more than doubles the prize with $50,000 for gold, $30,000 for silver and $20,000 for bronze.

Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Ariarne Titmus, pictured here with their medals at the airport in Tokyo.
Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Ariarne Titmus pose with their medals at the airport in Tokyo. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Australia's measly monetary reward for Olympic stars

After winning 46 medals at the Tokyo Games, Australia's athletes made about $665,000.

But if they were American that number would be closer to $1.5 million.

According to swimming website SwimSwam, Australia ranks 19th in terms of the monetary reward given to athletes.

Australia's best Olympians often go on to make their real money in sponsorships and endorsements after they arrive home from the Games.

But retired Aussie swimmer James Magnussen said McKeon and co might miss the boat because they have to do two weeks of quarantine.

“I just hope from a commercial perspective that these athletes get what’s coming to them and that two weeks (in quarantine) doesn’t stunt any of the momentum or the fanfare around these swimmers, because they have earned every penny that’s out there,” Magnussen told Fox Sports.

“I really hope they’re able to cash in on that because it’s only once every four years, or five years in this case, that they get this level of recognition.

“I really hope for people like Emma, Kaylee (McKeown), Ariarne (Titmus), this is a life-changing event and this sets them up for the rest of the their lives because they’ve certainly earned it.”

Gold medal monetary reward by country (according to SwimSwam):

1. Singapore ($1,003,027)

2. Hong Kong ($875,000)

3. Indonesia ($470,000)

4. Thailand ($420,000)

5. Kazakhstan ($340,000)

6. Azerbaijan ($337,000)

7. Malaysia ($237,000)

8. Italy ($288,000)

9. Hungary ($228,000)

10. France ($88,0000

11. Russia ($83,000)

12. Brazil ($65,000)

13. Japan ($61,000)

14. USA ($50,000)

15. South Africa ($50,000)

16. Netherlands ($48,000)

17. Germany ($30,000)

18. Canada ($22,000)

19. Australia ($20,000)

*All figures in AUD

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