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Fourth-Place Medal

What do different countries pay Olympians?

Fourth-Place Medal

Unless you’re a huge name like Shaun White, there's no guarantee that being an Olympic athlete is particularly lucrative. In fact, according to CNN, some Olympians technically live under the poverty line.

But being an Olympic athlete with a medal is a different story: Many countries pay their competitors upwards of six-figure bonuses for bringing home the gold. Some countries like Kazakhstan pay their gold medalists $250,000. Other countries like Malaysia, which hasn’t seen a gold medal come home since 1956, guarantee their athletes a solid gold bar worth $600,000. But some countries like Great Britain — which doesn't pay their athletes at all — are not that generous.

[Photos: Camera trick creates incredible images]

Check out what Olympians from all over the world get for winning a medal.


The team from Kazakhstan enters Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia, during the Opening Ceremony for the Winter …

The team from Kazakhstan has extra incentive to win big: Gold medalists could receive $250,000.


SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Biathlete Indrek Tobreluts of the Estonia Olympic team carries his country's flag …

Estonia, a former communist country like Kazakhstan, also rewards their athletes handsomely. A gold medal is worth $138,500, a silver medal will earn an Olympian $96,400 and a bronze totals to $60,000.

[Related: Can Danny Davis upset Shaun White?]


Feb 7, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; The delegation from Italy participates in the athlete march during the opening ceremony …

Italy is another country that pays their Olympians big bucks for winning a medal. A gold medal is worth $189,800.


2014 Winter Olympics: View of Team Russia entering parade of nations during opening ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium. …

Russia, this year’s Winter Olympics host country, treats their athletes well. Not only will a gold medal earn an athlete $113,200, but also regional and private bonuses triple that value, according to Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov.


SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Ski jumper Simon Ammann of the Switzerland Olympic team carries his country's flag …

Switzerland pays their athletes who bring home the gold $88,600.


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Canada's flag bearer, ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser leads her national delegation during the Opening Ceremony …

Being an Olympic athlete in Canada doesn’t really pay off. A gold medal is worth $17,900.

[Photos: 26 amazing faces of Ashley Wagner]

The United States

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The United States team arrives during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, …

The United States Olympic Committee pays their gold medal athletes $25,000. That number hasn’t changed in a decade and with inflation that bonus value has actually dropped by over $5,000.

Great Britain

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Feb 7, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Jon Eley leads the delegation from Great Britain during the opening ceremony for the …

Great Britain doesn’t pay their Olympians who bring home a medal.


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Sandis Ozolins of Latvia holds his national flag and enters the arena with teammates during the opening ceremony …

Former communist countries really love their Olympians. Latvia pays their gold medal athletes $192,800.


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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli of Malaysia celebrates winning bronze in the Men's Shot …

Malaysia, who is not competing in the Sochi, awards the largest prize to their top ranking athletes — a solid gold bar from a gold mine owner in Kuala Lumpur worth $600,000. Unfortunately, no Malaysian has won a gold medal since 1956.

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