The 2,952 athletes competing at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang aren't getting paid to be there. But, if they perform well, they can bring home some cash.
Many countries reward medalists with bonus money. U.S. Olympians, for example, will earn $37,500 for each gold medal they win this year, $22,500 for each silver and $15,000 for each bronze. In team sports, each team member splits the pot evenly.
That's 50 percent more than what American medalists earned at the 2016 Summer Games. And, unlike in 2016, their winnings won't be taxed if their gross income is $1 million or less.
Other countries, but not all, offer a "medal bonus. " In Singapore, gold medalists take home $1 million. Silver medalists earn a cool $500,000 and bronze medalists get $250,000. In the 2018 Games, there's just one athlete from Singapore who could capitalize on the big bonus.
For many athletes, the prize money matters.
While headliners like Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn make big money from endorsement deals, a handful of Olympians are stretched thin financially.
U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon, who landed a spot on the podium earlier this week, went through a recent period where he was "broke," he tweeted, and resorted to swiping apples from his gym to save money.
Some U.S. athletes rely on performance-based stipends from the U.S. Olympic Committee to cover necessities like rent and food. As speed skater Mitch Whitmore told NerdWallet, a fourth place finish at a key 2017 competition granted him a nine-month stipend to fund his training and living expenses. A third-place finish would have resulted in a much bigger stipend, he noted.
Many athletes rely on part-time jobs or crowdfunding to cover costs.
That said, the prestige that comes with competing for your country on the Olympic stage is priceless.
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