American athletes will have to pay tax on their Olympic medals

Matt Kuchar’s heroics were awarded when he returned to Sea Island, Georgia. The American came out of nowhere to claim bronze after a stunning final round 63. His performance reaffirmed the widely held belief that those Americans who withdrew from the golf may now be regretting their decision.

A fascinating reality now faces Kuch in the form of Uncle Sam. That’s right, American athletes will have to pay tax on the medals they win. When you consider the bonus scheme that most nations use, competitors receive prizes for their medal and will have to pay tax depending on their country’s laws.

Cash Prizes for Gold Medals:

  • $745,000: Singapore.
  • $380,000:  Indonesia.
  • $60,000:  Russia (Paid out $6.7 million in 2012).
  • $25,000: USA (Paid out $3.6 million in 2012).

Great Britain, Norway and Sweden do not offer cash prizes to medalists, so golf’s Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson will have to settle for their medals alone.

Found this ?? outside waiting!!! #OlympicGolf #Olympics2016 #rio #teamgb??

A photo posted by Justin Rose (@justinprose99) on

America offer $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. But there’s a catch, American Olympians aren’t exempt from tax. This issue was brought up in 2012 when Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, attempted to shield medals and bonuses from Uncle Sam.

“We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.”

Marco Rubio.

This means that Kuch will face a tax bill of around $4,000 dollars for his bronze medal – a relative drop in the ocean when you consider his overall wealth. Still, it’s an interesting irony.

What about Michael Phelps and his five golds and one silver? His 2016 Olympic tax bill comes to $55,000! Not that this bothers a man worth an estimated $55 million. Fellow competitor Joseph Schooling might be a little more concerned. He claimed the $745,000 prize offered by Singapore for winning the 100-meter butterfly and became their first gold medalist. I’m sure he’ll be hoping for a tidy tax rebate after beating Phelps.

The medals themselves don’t carry much worth, that is unless the athlete goes on to sell them. Based on the commodity prices of the metals involved, gold is worth in the neighbourhood of $600, silver about $300 and bronze next to nothing. The prices would of course be inflated if they were to enter the market. American billionaire Ron Burkle, forked out $1.46 million for Jess Owen’s soul-surviving gold medal from the infamous Berlin Games of 1936.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 13.25.07

I doubt Kuch’s bronze will scrape past a couple of grand, but that won’t inhibit his ability to sleep at night. After all, he’s an Olympian AND a tax paying member of the public.


Start the discussion

to comment