Australia’s Olympic team has so far seen significantly more women win medals than men, but does that mean more money in cash prizes and sponsorship dollars?
According to Fox Sports Australia, probably not the big big bucks, but there’s still money to be made. Among the world’s top 10 performing Olympic sports stars in dollar-terms there is only one woman and that’s tennis ace Serena Williams.
So what can our Olympic champion women expect when it comes to making money?
While winning and competing at an Olympics is a monumental achievement and one would argue is priceless, there is money that follows.
The overarching Olympics committee doesn’t hand out any cash to medal winners, but Fox Sports reports that Australian gold medal winners are expected to receive a $20,000 bonus under the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC)’s Adidas medal incentive funding program. Silver medallists get $13,400 and bronze $10,000.
So when you consider that 18 women, which includes the Rugby Sevens team, swimming sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell, plus star shooter Catherine Skinner have won gold, that means around $360,000 should be paid out to our female Olympians.
But compared to other nations, Australian Olympians, including our women, aren’t making that much money. In fact we are on par with Canada.
Some media reports say that Azerbaijan is paying around $330,000 for gold medals and Singapore is using nearly $1-million dollars as an incentive to get its country men and women inspired to win the top prize.
But wait for it, according to Fox Sports, the country of Georgia is paying up to $1.6 million to anyone that can win gold.
Then of course there are the sponsorships and product endorsements that are likely to follow for those Olympic champions. But even that is no guarantee.
Sponsors today look for more than just gold medals, they look for clean histories, inspirational role models and marketable qualities.
Indeed what’s probably spoiled things are drug scandals like that which was uncovered at this year’s Australian Open involving tennis star Maria Sharapova.
That said, not all sports are created equal when it comes to sponsorship dollars. Those who win in tennis, football and basketball, are highly likely to earn more than less media-friendly sports such as shooting and archery.
Swimmers on the other hand are highly prized in Australia, or at least they used to be. We know that the Campbell sisters already have vitamins maker Swiss as a sponsor, but more deals are likely to follow for these girls.
Ian Thorpe and Stephanie Rice are among the names that previously turned their Olympic success into media stardom and multi-million dollar sponsorship success.
There’s also the value of the medal’s themselves both literally and their estimated worth should they ever be on sold or auctioned.
Before her stint in politics, sprinter Nova Peris sold 53 items from her sporting memorabilia collection for $140,000 to the National Museum of Australia, according to the ABC. This included an Olympic gold medal and the Olympic torch she carried.
Lastly, there’s the actual value of the medal itself. It’s estimated that one gold medal has only about $200-$300 worth of real gold in it, and the rest is made up of other precious metals like silver and even tin.