Having a gold medal placed around their neck while their national anthem is played is what we are told every athlete at the Olympic Games aspires to.
But with countries racing to be first in the medal table, some nations have decided that winning for winning’s sake may just not be enough to induce athletes to give their all.
Some are offering cash bonuses to medal winners while others are offering incentives ranging from apartments to cars.
But who is getting how much varies wildly with Singapore promising a whopping $745,264 for a gold medal while Nigerian gold medallists will only get $2,000.
Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, lies somewhere in between, paying gold medal winners $132,000 after significantly boosting its reward scheme.
Where winning gold pays
- Singapore: $745,264 one-off payment
- Moldova: $132,000 one-off payment
- Romania: $79,000 + monthly income for life
- Malaysia: Cash bonus + $1,200 monthly payment for life
- France: $55,000 one-off payment
- Indonesia: $18,000-a-year “retirement plan”
- Nigeria: $2,000 one-off payment
But not every country rewards its successful athletes with cash.
Apartments are also a popular bonus and Kazakhstan staggers its rewards according to the colour of the medal.
Gold will get athletes a three-bedroom flat. silver a two-bedroom home and bronze winners will have to make do with a one-bedroom apartment.
With bonuses of that nature, Kazakh athletes’ families no doubt cheer their loved ones on with extra vigour.
Ukraine’s silver medallist Sergiy Kulish will receive $85,000 in cash and a new apartment, according to the Ukrainian daily Segodnya.
The number of bedrooms was not disclosed but the shooter will also be given a more practical present by his local council: a new air rifle.
Medal-winning South Korean athletes, meanwhile, have been given the gift of time.
They will only have to complete four weeks of basic military training instead of the mandatory two years.
In Russia, athletes gain not time but influence, according to tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“In our country, Olympic success is a direct line… to power,” the paper proclaims, citing as examples boxer Nikolay Valuev, wrestler Alexander Karelin and gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, who all became MPs.
Not a sausage
By comparison, the West is relatively mean. French gold medallists can expect the equivalent of $55,000, US and Canadian winners $25,000, and Germans $20,000.
Then there are Britain, Norway, Sweden and Croatia, none of which give their athletes any cash at all.
A Belarusian sausage company back in 2008 offered free sausages for life to any Belarussian who earned a gold medal, and the Iranians are handing out golden-coloured shoes.
British medallists will just have to look to the Honours List for their rewards.