How much is an Olympic medal worth, and how much does an athlete earn for winning?

Getting the gold could mean a prize bonus for some Olympic medalists

TOKYO, JAPAN - 2021/07/21: Large-scale reproduction of Tokyo 2020 Gold Medal on display at the Olympic Agora.
The Olympic Agora in Nihonbashi district is an art project which revives an ancient Greek idea of confluence of sport, art and culture. "Agora" comes from Greek and stands for a vibrant public space where people gathered to buy and sell goods, exchange political ideas and do sports. (Photo by Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty)

The 2020 Summer Olympics feature some of our favorite athletes from around the world competing for the ultimate prize: a gold medal. As priceless as the awards are to the athletes honored, we couldn’t help but wonder how much an Olympic medal is worth. What is the actual financial value and is there is a prize purse attached?

According to new research done by coaching app Ezra, some champions that earn the coveted gold medal will not only earn a shiny gold medal to put on display but depending on the country they represent, will earn a bonus prize determined by the country too.

How much is an Olympic medal worth by weight?

An Olympic gold medal is made with gold and solid silver, so is valuable even without the glory and status that comes attached.

This year’s Olympic gold medal design consists of around six grams of gold layered over 550 grams of silver, according to the designer. The silver medals use 550g of silver, while the bronze medals were created with red brass (not actual bronze) and weigh 450g. So what does this equate to in dollars? 

  • Olympic gold medal value: $830
  • Olympic silver medal value: $450
  • Olympic bronze medal value: $2.50

Today, six grams of gold is worth close to $380, according to Bloomberg. 550 grams of silver goes for around $450, which means a gold medal could be worth about $830 when focusing on the value of pure metal itself.

Unfortunately, for bronze medals, weighing 450g is less than a pound of red brass, which goes for up to $2.50.

This picture shows a large-scale reproduction of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medal as part of the Olympic Agora event at Mitsui Tower in Tokyo on July 14, 2021.

(Image credit: PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

How much is an Olympic medal worth by bonus?

Around 10,000 Olympic athletes compete for roughly 300 gold medals. As valuable as that may make these medals seem, the country an athlete is competing for will determine how much they make. 

Looking back at the 2016 Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ezra uncovered which countries paid the most to their gold medal winners.

NationGold Bonus per athleteNo of Golds wonTotal bonus paid
1Italy$185,0008$1,480,000
2France$66,00010$660,000
3Russia$62,60019$1,189,400
4South Korea$53,8009$484,200
5Japan$49,90012$598,800
6China$30,00026$780,000
7United States$25,00046$1,150,000
8Germany$22,60017$384,200
9Australia$15,0008$120,000
10Great Britain $027$0

Ezra found Italy paid their athletes the most money, both in individual bonuses and cumulatively. Each gold medal winner was given a prize of $185,000, and since the country took home eight gold medals that year, that totaled out to be a little under $1.5 million.

The second highest-paying country was found to be Russia which paid each athlete roughly $62,600 per gold medal. With an incentive like that, the country took home 19 gold medals, which means the country dished out a total of $1,189,400.

The U.S. Olympic team not only gets to sport Skims loungewear, but athletes also receive a bonus for their gold medal wins. The U.S. spent the third highest amount overall for its gold medals at $25,000 per athlete. Continuing its gold medal streak, this landed them at a total of $1,150,000 as the country took home 46 gold medals that summer.

China and France both spent under $1 million that year with China paying $30,000 per gold medal (spending a total of $780,000) and France paying $66,000 per athlete (but with only 10 gold medals that year that totaled to $660,000).

For Great Britain’s team though, it seems Princess Anne’s heartfelt video is all the motivation athletes need as the country didn’t pay any gold medal bonuses to its athletes for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Valarie Allman holds her gold medal on the podium after the Women's Discus Throw Final on day 2 of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 19, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon.

(Image credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

What are the bonus fees for the 2020 Olympics?

The official bonus fees for this year's Olympics are still to be confirmed, though Team USA have stated that athletes at the Olympics and Paraolympics  will receive $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze medals. 

Rylee Johnston
Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a digital news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers everything from beauty and fashion trends to celebrity and entertainment news.