How Much Is an Olympic Medal Actually Worth? How much is an Olympic gold medal actually worth? An Olympic medal’s value matters because it doesn’t come with a check from the International Olympic Committee. Here, MONEY how Much Money I Earned I Year down what athletes can expect to gain from their Olympic medals, once the games are over. A woman looks at gold bars during a handover ceremony in Shanghai January 15, 2008.
The gold bars were handed over by BHP Billiton to a mint factory which will be manufacturing gold medals for the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing. But determining the value of the medal can be more complicated than it would appear at first glance. For each Olympic games, a unique design is created to reflect the host country’s culture and symbols. And because each design is different, the weight and medal composition varies. Yet athletes who win a gold medal are not receiving a solid gold disk. Starting with the 1912 games in Stockholm, the Olympic medals have been gold-plated, rather than solid gold. That’s about 6 grams of the 586-gram total weight, the committee told MONEY.
In general, you’ll get more money if you choose to sell an Olympic medal at auction, rather than melting it down. 50,000, says Jonathan Scheier, the consignment director of sports memorabilia at Heritage Auctions—the world’s largest auctioneer of sports collectables. But a silver or bronze from a famous athlete could certainly command a higher price than a gold from a relative unknown. Medals from Olympics greats like Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Michael Phelps, or Usain Bolt, for instance, would command much higher prices than an ordinary standard gold medal from any of these sports. Are summer Olympics medals worth more than winter Olympics medals? Again, that depends a bit on the recipient. Overall, Olympic medals won at the Summer Games are more valuable at auction than Winter Games, Scheier says—but there are exceptions. 1980 battle in Lake Placid, N. Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn celebrates her latest golden achievement by unveiling her Wheaties box.
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Of course, even if an athlete does trade in their medal for cold, hard cash, they get to keep the title of Olympic champion—and the accompanying endorsement opportunities and speaking deals. For those looking to capitalize on their win with an endorsement deal, Dionne says the value of a medal can be more difficult to calculate. Medals also carry a higher endorsement value when a player is expected to have more championships ahead. For example, somebody like Lindsey Vonn has done well going into this Olympic games because of medals she’s won previously—and because she’s expected to keep winning, Dionne says. However, athletes who don’t win an Olympic medal till late in their careers—and who therefore may not have many more championships ahead of them—are less likely to profit from big endorsements, Dionne explains.
Beyond endorsements, Dionne says an Olympic medal can be valuable for your career. Coming out of the Olympics, she did land partnerships and endorsements, but she was also able to enter law school and start a career outside of sports. I’d be naïve to think that writing in my resume that I’m an Olympic medalist doesn’t open that door. This story has been updated to correct the amount of money that the U.
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Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions. 75,000 a Year to Be Happy? People say money doesn’t buy happiness. The lower a person’s annual income falls below that benchmark, the unhappier he or she feels.
75,000 people make, they don’t report any greater degree of happiness. 75,000, the study points out that there are actually two types of happiness. There’s your changeable, day-to-day mood: whether you’re stressed or blue or feeling emotionally sound. Tony Robbins tries to teach you. The study, by economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who has won a Nobel Prize for Economics, analyzed the responses of 450,000 Americans polled by Gallup and Healthways in 2008 and 2009. Participants were asked how they had felt the previous day and whether they were living the best possible life for them. They were also asked about their income.
Most people were also satisfied with the way their life was going. See TIME’s special issue on the science of happiness. Researchers found that lower income did not cause sadness itself but made people feel more ground down by the problems they already had. 3,000 a month reported similar feelings.
For people who earn that much or more, individual temperament and life circumstances have much more sway over their lightness of heart than money. 75,000 is the benchmark, but “it does seem to me a plausible number at which people would think money is not an issue,” says Deaton. At that level, people probably have enough expendable cash to do things that make them feel good, like going out with friends. But in the bigger view of their lives, people’s evaluations were much more tied to their income. The more they made, the more they felt their life was going well. The survey asked respondents to place themselves on a life-satisfaction ladder, with the first rung meaning their lives were not going well and the 10th rung meaning it was as good as it could be.
The higher their income, the higher the rung people chose. It’s no surprise, then, that when the same polls are done in different countries, Americans come out as a bit of a mixed lot: they’re fifth in terms of happiness, 33rd in terms of smiling and 10th in terms of enjoyment. At the same time, they’re the 89th biggest worriers, the 69th saddest and fifth most stressed people out of the 151 nations studied. Now that Princeton researchers have untangled that life mystery, maybe someone at MIT can look into the optimal amount of money required to buy us love. How much money do Uber drivers really earn?