The Philippines took their first-ever gold medal in Tokyo this week, making Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz the country’s first Olympic gold medalist.
As a reward for her historic achievement, Diaz will reportedly receive at least 33 million Philippine pesos (about $600,000) from the Philippine Sports Commission and from the country’s top business executives. She has also been given two homes and free flights for life, according to reports.
Although the International Olympic Committee does not award prize money to medalists, many countries offer their athletes monetary rewards for the number of medals they win in the Olympics.
Here’s a look at how many money medalists from 12 countries were able to take home, based on data collected by CNBC from several national Olympic committees, sports associations and the personal finance site Money Under 30.
Why some athletes earn more?
More than 600 American athletes participate in the Tokyo Olympics, and the United States has won 11 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze to date.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee awards athletes $37,500 for each gold medal won, $22,500 for silver, and $15,000 for bronze. Most of that prize money is not taxable unless athletes report gross income in excess of $1 million.
American athletes also receive other forms of support, including health insurance, access to first-class medical facilities, and assistance with tuition.
In comparison, Singapore rewards its gold medalists almost 20 times more than the US players who earn their first individual gold medal for the city-state and receive 1 million Singapore dollars ($737,000). The prize money is taxable and winners must return a portion of it to their national sports associations for future training and development.
The country sent only 23 athletes to Tokyo.
According to Unmish Parthasarathi, founder and executive director of consulting firm Picture Board Partners, the sports economy in the US allows athletes to better capitalize on their talents, as most of it is driven by the private sector.
In places like Singapore, India and elsewhere, many of the national sports initiatives are driven by governments that sometimes use higher monetary rewards to encourage a growing sports culture, he told CNBC.
Malaysia also has hefty rewards for its Olympic winners.
Athletes who win gold will receive 1 million ringgit ($236,149), while silver winners will receive 300,000 ringgit and 100,000 ringgit will be given to athletes who win bronze. In dollar terms, a Malaysian Olympic bronze winner will receive a higher performance award than a gold winner from Australia or Canada.
How Athletes Make Money
In addition to receiving monetary and non-monetary rewards from their countries for winning medals, Olympians rely on other revenue streams for their athletic endeavors.
Athletes from larger, more competitive countries receive stipends or training grants from their national sports federations. Top performers collect prize money by winning national and international tournaments. Others get a fixed salary by holding various jobs.
Some, like American badminton player Zhang Beiwen, reportedly relied on crowdsourcing to fund their trip to Tokyo. Most Team USA athletes are not represented by sports agents, and some have no sponsors or endorsements at all, according to a Forbes report.
A handful of athletes can earn multimillion-dollar endorsements or sponsorship deals, either before competing in the Olympics or after achieving success at the Games. For example, tennis star Naomi Osaka reportedly made $55 million in endorsements in 12 months, and was named the highest-paid female athlete ever, according to reports.
But scoring lucrative deals is rare and hardly the norm.
Parthasarathi pointed out that a profitable career move for some athletes is to go into coaching after retirement because people are willing to pay a premium for former Olympians.
Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics holds the U.S. broadcasting rights to all summer and winter games through 2032.