Australia expects to pick up 16 gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, however the International Olympic Committee won’t be handing out any prize money - unless Olympians choose to literally melt down their medals.
The IOC traditionally doesn’t hand out cash prizes to medallists, however competing countries may choose to allocate money to Olympians who bring home gold.
For Australian athletes, first place can score them a $20,000 payment, while silver will trigger a $15,000 payment and $10,000 for bronze. That’s based on the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) medal incentive funding (MIF) program.
“MIF aims to incentivise athletes to continue training, with the goal of representing Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” the AOC explained.
The payments are made in the next calendar year after the Olympics take place.
However, athletes who win more than one medal will only be eligible for one payment.
The funding comes from state and national Olympic committees as well as grants from the IOC, as well as sponsors.
Australia’s payments are significantly smaller than those paid to American Olympians, who score US$37,500 for every gold medal.
And, American athletes can score multiple cash prizes for multiple wins.
In other countries, the perks are different. For example, South Koreans can score a military exemption, while Germans pick up a lifetime supply of beer.
And in Belarus, Olympic winners receive a lifetime of unlimited sausages.
How much is an Olympic medal worth if you melted it down?
The gold medal itself also comes with a decent value. The IOC requires the gold metal contains at least six grams of gold and at least 92.5 per cent of silver.
The 2020 gold medal is slightly thicker than the Rio medals, with a maximum thickness of 12.1 millimetres. It weighs around 556 grams.
That means that with gold worth $78.61 per gram at time of publication, the mandatory 6 grams in a gold medal would fetch at least $471.66.
Then, with silver worth $1.11 per gram, the remaining 550 grams in a gold medal would fetch $610.50.
So if an Olympian were to choose to melt down their gold metal and sell it, they could pick up $1,082.16.