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US Olympic Medal Winners Get Bonuses and Tax Bill

With many countries in the world facing financial difficulties, there is greater focus on how much money governments are spending on Olympic athletes or Olympic-related events.

British Double Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Adlington shows her medals from the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China.
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British Double Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Adlington shows her medals from the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China.

Raising eyebrows, Italy's $182,400 payout to any Italian who wins a gold medal. That's the highest payout in the world.

The British press has raised questions about why a country that is struggling to cut its spending would be so generous. With three gold medals so far, Rome is on the hook thus far for more than half a million dollars.

In second place is Russia, paying nearly $135,000. Third is France paying $ 65,200. In the host country, Olympic athletes receive zero, meaning British cyclist Bradley Wiggins, and rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, all of whom won gold for Team GB will get pats on the back, and hopefully more endorsements.

In the U.S., gold medal winners get $25,000, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. This is not government money, its paid by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Potential GOP Vice Presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FLA) has sponsored a bill that medal winning U.S. athletes shouldn't have to pay taxes on the money they receive.

Taxes on a gold medal could run as high as $8,986, while silver could be $5,385. On a bronze metal, the tax might be $3,500.

This post is from CNBC's Senior International Correspondent, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.