Huge bonuses await Olympic medalists
The Korean team will be gifted 3.15 billion won, including 200 million won for manager Hong Myung-bo, right, if Korea wins a first-ever Olympic football gold medal in London. / Yonhap
By Kang Seung-woo
Podium glory at this summer’s London Olympics will also result in a large financial reward for athletes’ long and arduous efforts.
The government will give performance bonuses of 60 million won ($52,500) to gold medallists, 30 million won for silver and 18 million won for bronze. But the money to be won from individual sporting bodies is far bigger.
Football could be the most lucrative event for Team Korea.
The Korea Football Association has decided to give Hong Myung-bo’s side 3.15 billion won, including 200 million won to the manager and up to 150 million won to each player based on performance, if Korea clinches a first-ever gold in the competition, with 2.14 billion won set aside for a silver-medal effort.
In addition, even if the Taeguk Warriors, who have already been given 560 million won for clinching an eighth Olympic appearance, fail to make the podium, they will be entitled to some cash if they qualify for the knockout phase.
Reaching the quarterfinals would earn the team 640 million won while a semifinal berth is worth 885 million won.
Among amateur sports, handball carries the highest bonus, with a potential 500 million won for each the men’s and women’s team. According to the Korea Handball Federation’s regulations 410 million will be awarded for a gold medal-winning display but it is considering adding a further 90 million won as an extra incentive.
The Korea Shooting Federation has put up 50 million won for an Olympic champion, while silver and bronze medallists will be given 20 million won and 10 million won, respectively.
A gold medallist in badminton will receive 400 million won, with 200 million won for each member of the doubles team if they take the Olympic title, while the men’s and women’s field hockey teams will each claim 250 million won if they bring home the elusive gold medal. The best achievement of either squad at the games is silver.
Park Tae-hwan, seeking a repeat victory in the 400-meter freestyle, is expected to pocket 150 million won if he wins a gold medal in London. The 22-year-old will compete in the 200, 400 and 1,500 freestyle.
Most countries plan to award cash incentives to gold medallists.
Any Malaysian athlete who wins gold in London will be given 2 million ringgit ($630,000) and a badminton gold medallist will receive a gold bar worth 2 million ringgit, offered by the owner of a gold mine there who loves the sport.
Italy, currently suffering financial turmoil, will give 210 million won to athlete taking home gold, while Russia and Canada will offer 150 million won and 110 million won, respectively.
The United States will pay $25,000 for gold medallists but host Britain will not be giving any prize money for medals.
Korea will dispatch 245 athletes to compete in 22 events along with 129 officials to the London Games that will run from July 27 to Aug. 12.