Tokyo 2020 Olympics ends this weekend with all the pomp and circumstance you can expect from the Japanese hosts, even without spectators, but with a worldwide audience of over One Billion.
Most of the participants, including medalists, are back home because of the rule that everyone should return to their countries after their events, as part of the Japan’s coronavirus protocols. Tokyo has been under COVID-19 emergency even during the games.
As the athletes return to their bases, some are already aware of the cash reward they will receive for winning or participating.
The International Olympic Committee does not give prize money to winners or participants in the Olympics because its emphasis is on participation, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, but many countries reward their medalists with a bonus after the games.
Earlier this week, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced a reward of $15, 000, $10,000 and $7,500 for Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists at the Tokyo Olympics. The announcement was made in Tokyo shortly after wrestler Blessing Oborodudu won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling. The cash reward is said to be an upward review from the initial amount announced, which was $5,000 for Gold, $3,000 for Silver and $2,000 for Bronze.
From all indications, only female long jumper Ese Brume, who Nigeria’s other medal at the Games – a bronze for placing third – will join Blessing to get the cash reward. So Nigeria will only give out a total of $17,500 as cash reward.
There have been questions why the cash rewards were announced while the games were already on and many events had already been concluded, when the news should have been made known even before the games commenced to serve as an incentive to the athletes to try harder, especially when it is a fact that Nigeria has not won medals in the last two or three Summer Olympic Games. Only the Paralympians have been doing Nigeria proud in major international multi-games events.
Nigeria’s cash reward is however a far cry from what other countries give their medalists.
Although it is not all countries offer a medal bonus, a gold medalist from Singapore is given $1 million, Silver medalists earn $500,000 and bronze medalists get $250,000. For the current Olympics, India is offering gold medalists 60,000,000 Indian Rupees which is $807,997.50.
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who won the first ever Olympic Gold Medal for The Philippines will be rewarded by her country with a cash prize of about 33 million pesos, equivalent to $600,000. She will also be given two houses, aside from other rewards from different organisations.
US Olympians currently have fixed cash earning of $37,500 for each Gold Medal, $22,500 for each Silver and $15,000 for each Bronze. In team sports, each team member splits the pot evenly.
Here is a schedule compiled by CNBC for cash rewards by several countries for their Olympic medal winners:
Kazakhstan gives $250,000 for Gold, $150,000 for Silver and $75,000 for Bronze.
Malaysia – $236,000, $71,000, $24,000; Italy – $213,000, $107,000, $71,000; Hungary – $168,000, $126,000, $96,000; Brazil – $49,000, $29,000, $20,000; Japan – $45,000, $18,000, $9,000; South Africa – $37,000, $19,000, $7,000; Canada – $16,000, $12,000, $8,000; Australia – $15,000, $11,000, $7,000.
In the end, most of these countries spend quite a bit because they have many medal winners, unlike countries like Nigeria who will only end up giving rewards to one or two athletes who win medals.
Although the IOC does not give financial rewards, many athletes strive to participate in the Olympics because the term ‘Olympian’ is one that stays with them forever. It provides respect in many countries in the world, whether the person won a medal or not.
The top-three finishers in an Olympic event are given Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, but all participants get the title, ‘Olympian’. It is also a fact that athletes get Diplomas or Certificates.
The Olympic Diploma is given to the top eight athletes in each event. It is easy to grade in track and field but this also means that a quarterfinalist, being one of the last eight, is eligible for the Olympic Diploma which was first awarded at the inaugural modern Summer Olympics in Athens in 1896.
The Olympic Diploma certificate bears the signatures of the IOC President and the head of the organising committee for that Olympiad.
For the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo, as in others before it, only a fraction of the about 11,000 athletes who competed will receive the Diploma but all the participants are qualified to be referred to as ‘Olympians’, having met the Olympic ideal of participation.
The same conditions apply to the 4,000 athletes taking part in the Tokyo Paralympics from Tuesday, August 24 to Sunday, September 5.
The Paralympics have always been a gold mine for Nigeria and these Elite athletes always help to soften the pain of expectation of Nigerians, after they have been disappointed in the Summer Olympics. Lucy Ejike, who will be competing in the Para Powerlifting event, will Captain Team Nigeria to the coming Paralympics Games and it is every one’s hope that the medal winners will receive commensurate, if not more befitting, rewards, that the athletes who went for the Summer Games.
It is also our hope that the infighting in the Nigerian Olympic Committee and its extension to the Sports Ministry will not affect Nigeria’s athletes to the Paralympics, so that the sportsmen will not be distracted.
IMAGE CREDIT: aljazeera.com