Gettin’ Money!

Last night I watched the Olympics for 4 straight hours. That’s a long time to sit in front of the tv, but I  just couldn’t help myself!  I was watching Usain Bolt win the gold in the 100 meter dash, the sure-thing McKayla Maroney lose the gold in vaulting to a Romanian, and the South African Oscar Pistorius, born without legs,  magnificently run against able-bodied runners. Embarrassingly, I found myself clapping in my living room. By myself.  But hey, it happens to us all during the Olympics, right?

Usain Bolt Yohan Blake compete for Jamaica

Photo by Paul Gilham

Oscar Pistorius in 400-Meter Dash

Photo by Paul Gilham

2012 London Olympics

Photo by Brian Snyder

I have found out about some interesting money issues while being obsessed with the Olympics lately. While Olympians earn most of their money from endorsements following the Olympics, many of the athletes are paid for medals by their country’s Olympic committee. In the US, our athletes get paid $25,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for a silver, and $10,000 for a bronze medal. Not too shabby! However, Italy pays out the most to their athletes at $182,400 for a gold medal! So far, they’ve had to pay out 7 times in London for gold medals. Russia pays the second highest at $135,000 for gold. It’s been rumored that Kazakhstan will give $250,000 to each gold medalist, but I don’t think it’s actually true.  You wouldn’t think that would be an issue, but Kazakhstan is actually 7th in the gold medal count right now! Many other countries promise new cars or apartment keys to their medalists. I don’t think I ever realized that being an Olympic medalist could be such a money maker!

If you want to know the answers to some questions you’ve had about the Olympics, I suggest this article on the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19047586

It will teach you about Ryan Lochte’s grill, why French is the official language of the Olympics, what that weird colorful tape is that the athletes have been wearing, and why winners bite their medals.

What has been your favorite moment of the Olympics so far? The strangest?

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