Here's How Much Money Michael Phelps Would Make If He Swam For Other Countries
Michael Phelps is coming home from the Rio Olympics with a hefty five gold medals and one silver medal.
But his assets will be increased by more than just those pieces of metal, which are worth a couple hundred dollars by themselves.
Many countries actually award their athletes with prize money for winning events at the Olympics.
Pay for Olympic athletes has been a fraught topic for decades. There has been a long history of complicated and changing rules about athletes accepting endorsement money and sponsorships.
Training for the Olympics is also often very costly, both in time and material. It's a very tricky business that many people struggle with to become a top athlete.
But once you get there, you can get a pretty good payout.
The United States awards Olympic gold medal winners $25,000. Silver and bronze winners get $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
These numbers vary by country:
Azerbaijan is really crushing it in terms of prize money for gold. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has no love for winners, based on this count.
But this doesn't tell the whole story. Countries really vary a lot in how much they pay their athletes based on a number of factors.
Although the UK doesn't pay for a gold win, for instance, gold medal winning athletes are placed in a category that allows them to get an "athlete performance award" to fund equipment and living costs.
And Phelps might be getting a ton of prize money for his golds, but other countries sponsor athletes throughout training, providing coaches and housing, which is especially helpful for rising athletes. (Although this can also lead to things like state-sponsored doping. It's a toss-up!)
Regardless of what your country gives you for winning, everybody knows there's only one true measure of an athlete's wealth: endorsement deals.
Phelps won't be moving to Azerbaijan anytime soon.