The 2012 Olympics will leave about 2,100 athletes from around the world with a little something heavy around their necks. Of those, only a third will take home gold. So how much is an Olympic gold medal worth?
Here’s a great infographic we found at the blog MoneySideofLife.com about the value of each medal given out in the 2012 Summer Olympics:
The Olympic medals feature quite a range of values when it comes down to the cost of raw of materials. Just $5 for a bronze? Ouch. Even the gold medal, worth $700, still seams surprisingly cheap to produce. I guess that’s what 1.34% gold will get you. Of course, the intrinsic value of the medals is much greater.
How Much Does an Olympic Gold Medal Sell for?
Historically, the price of gold medals sold on at auction has varied widely. In 2004, swimmer Anthony Ervin made headlines when he auctioned his 2000 Summer Olympics gold medal on eBay to raise $17,000 for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
The highest known asking price for Olympic gold?
Mark Wells’ 1980 “Miracle on Ice” gold medal, which sold for $310,700 in 2010.
Jim Greensfelder, author of Olympic Medals: A Reference Guide, says the 16th gold medal won by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps — the medal that set the new record for most career gold medals — should be worth roughly $50,000.
Olympic medals go on sale more frequently than you might expect, and typically net about $10,000 in U.S. currency.
How Much do Olympians Earn for Gold Medals?
That $10,000 average auction-value for a gold medal is approximately $15,000 less than what members of this year’s U.S. Olympic team will be rewarded with for each gold they earn in competition. Each Olympic athlete gets paid an honorarium by the U.S. Olympic Committee – $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.
Even that’s not all it’s cracked up to be, however.
According to U.S. tax law, the medals and winnings Olympians earn are taxable at a rate of 35%. That means a gold medal actually costs its winner $8,750 dollars in payment to the IRS — meaning athletes net out at $16,250 in actual prize money for a gold. If they don’t sell them, each of the U.S. winners is now the proud owner of an Olympic gold medal worth about as much as a fully-loaded 2012 Scion XD.
Are you surprised by the value of a gold medal? Should the money really matter or are the Olympics really about glory? Share your thoughts in the comments below.