Gold great,but there’s nothing like some won

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Gold great,but there’s nothing like some won

The 2012 London Olympics ended Sunday, but the local attention still remains on Korean athletes, especially the medal winners, to see how much financial rewards they will get.

Not all the prize money comes from the government. Sports associations and corporate sponsors also have out monetary awards. The only difference is that rewards given out by governmental organizations are tax-free.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism gives 60 million won ($53,000) for a gold medal, 30 million for silver and 18 million for bronze.

Therefore, Ki Bo-bae, a double gold medalist in women’s individual and team archery is set to receive 120 million won. Ditto for Jin Jong-oh, who won gold in the 10-meter air pistol and 50-meter pistol.

Medalists will receive a monthly pension for life from the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation. Gold winners get 1 million won every month, while silver and bronze winners get 750,000 and 525,000 won. The monthly cap is 1 million, no matter how many medals athletes earn in their lives.

Players also receive money from the team or business they compete for or are supported by. Shooter Jin again received 200 million won from his team, KT, as promised in advance. He was set to receive 100 million won for a gold medal and 50 million won for silver. Gymnast Yang Hak-seon will receive 500 million won from Chairman Koo Bon-moo of LG Group as well as 90 million won from his supporter, Shinhan Financial Group.

The Korea Football Association will provide 1.5 billion won to the national team that won the bronze medal and the Korea Gymnastic Association will give 100 million won to Yang.

Individuals or other businesses that are not the official sponsor of the athletes provide monetary support as well. Gymnast Yang has been promised an apartment valued at 200 million won from SM Group, a small construction company, and a lifetime supply of Neoguri ramen from Nongshim.

In these cases, Yang has to pay gift taxes to accept the rewards. But he may not need to pay tax for the ramen since a box of 30 instant noodles costs 25,500 won and the government imposes no tax on items worth less than 500,000 won.



By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]
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