With the 2014 Winter Olympics now officially in the bag, a lot of sports experts are talking about the final medal standings and what it all means. Were the games a success for Russia even without a medal in hockey? Did the U.S. choke? Will the Netherlands just win all the speed skating medals the next time?
However, here at Total Pro Sports we’re going to take a look at the final medal count from a different angle. While the question of howmany medals each country won is interesting, the question of how much all those medals will cost is more interesting.
You see, almost every country at the Olympics gives monetary bonuses to its athletes for winning medals, and now that the Games are over they can add up the final bill. So who came out on the top of that list and faces the steepest bill for their success? That’s the million dollar question. Literally.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
(All figures in USD, via Bloomberg. All totals via my calculator.)
Norway won 11 gold, 5 silver, and 10 bronze medals, which was good for second in golds and third in the overall medal count. However, their athletes do it all for the love of nordic skiing, not money. Because all of them will get paid jack squat.
The same goes for the Swedes (2 golds, 7 silver, 6 bronze), Brits (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze), and Croats (1 silver). None of those countries give their athletes bonuses, either.
Final Bill: $0
25. Norway – NOTHING
Azerbaijan is the opposite of Norway. They only sent four athletes, and those four athletes won zero modals. However, if they had won medals they would have been paid quite handsomely—a half mil for gold, a quarter mil for silver, and an eighth of a mil for bronze.
I don't know about you, but for $500,000, I would definitely have won a gold medal.
Final Bill: $0
24. Azerbaijan – $510,000 / $255,000 / $130,000
Estonia is another tiny but generous country. Had any of their six athletes (including Boston native Warren Cummings Smith, pictured here) won any medals, they would have been handsomely rewarded.
Final Bill: $0
23. Estonia – $138,500 / $92,300 / $60,600
Austrlia isn't exactly a winter sports powerhouse, given that most of their country is a barren desert. However, Torah Bright and compnay did manage to win a few medals.
Final Bill: $23,900
22. Australia – $13,000 / $8,700 / $6,500
Poor Slovakia managed to take home just one medal in Sochi. However, that one medal—a gold won by biathlete Anastasiya Kuzmina—cost them $60k.
Final Bill: $60,800
21. Slovakia – $60,800 / $47,300 / $27,000
Kazakhstan is the second-most generous country after Azerbaijan, and they usually win at least one medal at the Olympics. This year was no exception, as Denis Ten won bronze in men's figure skating.
Final Bill: $75,000
20. Kazakhstan – $250,000 / $150,000 / $75,000
Speaking of men's figure skating, figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu won Japan's only gold medal in Sochi.
Final Bill: $166,500
19. Japan – $29,300 / $19,600 / $9,800
Tina Maze didn't just win two gold medals in alpine skiing. She will also get a nice bonus check for $54,000.
Final Bill: $182,600
18. Slovenia – $27,000 / $23,700 / $20,300
We don't exactly how much China was paying out for medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics. However, one report said they were paying around $82,000 for golds in 2012, and you figure it's got to be somewhere around that for Sochi, so...
Final Bill:at least $247,500
17. China – Unknown
Poland captured four gold medals in Sochi, led by ski jumper Kamil Stoch who won both the normal hill and large hill competitions.
Final Bill: $303,500
16. Poland – $38,330 / $25,560 / $15,980
Skier Anna Fenninger was Austria's most decorated Olympian in Sochi, winning a gold and a silver. For her efforts she'll get paid $38,100...in silver coins. (Hey, at least it's silver coins and not strudel.)
Final Bill: $438,400
15. Austria – $21,600 / $16,500 / $14,000
The Czech Republic pays it's Olympic medal-winners pretty well. Thus, their top athlete—Martina Sablikova, who won a gold and a silver in speed skating—will take home over $110k all by herself.
Final Bill: $451,200
14. Czech Republic – $73,900 / $37,000 / $22,200
France isn't the power it used to be in alpine skiing, as they won just one silver and one bronze. However, they did very well in nordic and freestyle, so the French Olympic Committee still has a substantial bill to pay.
Final Bill: $550,600
13. France – $67,800 / $27,100 / $17,600
Germany absolutely dominated the luge track in Sochi, winning gold in all four events. However, overall their medal count slipped from second in Vancouver to a distant sixth in Sochi...which save them some money.
Final Bill: $557,850
12. Germany – $20,300 / $13,500 / $10,150
Finland may have won just five medals in 2014. However, they pay their medalists well, so that bronze, won by the hockey team, was a costly one.
Final Bill: $560,800
11. Finland – $40,600 / $20,300 / $13,500
Given all political turmoil back home, Ukrainian were pretty distracted in Sochi. The fact that they managed to come away with a gold (biathlon relay) and a bronze (individual biathlon) is pretty impressive.
Final Bill: $650,000
10. Ukraine – $150,000 / $75,000 / $50,000
Interestingly, Korean medalists have two options when it comes to their bonuses. They can either take a lump sum payment, or they can take monthly installments ($923/$692/$484) until they die.
I'd take the installments.
Final Bill: $764,690
9. S.Korea – $62,000 / $51,670 / $36,170
Little Belarus won an impressive five gold medals thanks to the utter dominance of Darya Domracheva in biathlon. Her three golds will net her the largest single payout of any Olympian at the 2014 Winter Games—$450,000.
Final Bill: $800,000
8. Belarus – $150,000 / $75,000 / $50,000
Latvia only won four medals, but one was in four-man bobsleigh, one was luge relay, and one was doubles luge. So their bill is higher than it would at first seem.
Final Bill: $887,000
7. Latvia – $192,800 / $96,400 / $67,500
Netherlands absolutely destroyed the competition in speed skating, winning eight gold, seven silver, and nine bronze medals for a total of 24.
In every other event: zero.
Final Bill: $924,000
6. Netherlands – $40,600 / $30,500 / $20,300
Yes, the women's hockey team suffered an epic collapse that cost them the gold medal, and I'm sure the United States Olympic Committee would rather have seen them win. However, the silver lining to the silver medal is that it saved them $210,000.
Oh, and by phoning it in for the bronze medal game, the men's hockey team saved the USOC another $210,000.
Final Bill: $970,000
5. USA – $25,000 / $15,000 / $10,000
Dear Italy: if your athletes don't win a single gold medal at the Olympics and you're still paying out over a million bucks in bonuses, you might want to re-evaluate some things. FYI.
Final Bill: $1,017,000
4. Italy – $189,800 / $101,700 / $67,800
Canada pays its medal-winners some of the lowest bonuses in the developed world, at just CDN 20,000 per gold. However, thanks to both the men's and women's hockey teams taking the top prize again, they have a whopping 63 gold medalists to pay. (Hopefully all those rich NHL stars will donate the money back to the Canadian Olympic Committee and the amateur athletes who really need it.)
Final Bill: $1,467,00
3. Canada – $17,900 / $13,400 / $8,900
In general, as the per capita income of a country increases, the bonuses paid for Olympic medals decreases. The one major exception? Switzerland, which took a pretty big hit when the women's hockey team took bronze.
Don't worry, though. They can afford it. I hear everyone there has a Swiss bank account.
Final Bill: $2,303,500
2. Switzerland – $88,600 / $77,500 / $66,450
Despite a slow start and a disappointing effort from the men's hockey team, Russia finished the 2014 Winter Games #1 in gold medals (13) and #1 in overall medals (33).
Of course, that success is going to cost them big time. But really, what's another $5 million when you've already spent $50 billion just to host the games?
Final Bill: $5,917,200
And PS, if the hockey team had won gold, that would have cost Russia an extra $2.37 million.