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Poll: Should Olympians Pay $9,000 Tax on Their Gold Medals?

After they step off the podium, American Olympic medalists are expected to pay thousands in taxes on their prize money.

Fans’ adoration, inimitable sense of accomplishment, national glory… and thousands of dollars in taxes? All of these come with winning an Olympic medal for Team USA.

A Yahoo! Sports article revealed that Olympians are taxed on their prize money, just as game show and lottery winners are. Yet critics of this tax assert that surely the IRS can make an exception for the men and women representing our country at the world’s largest sporting event.

Many of these athletes train rigorously for years while also holding a full-time job because most sports don’t come with the sweet bonus of million-dollar endorsements. 

The following chart shows how much medalists win, and ultimately, what they pay in taxes.

Medal Prize Money Taxes


Gold $25,000 $8,986


Silver $15,000 $5,385


Bronze $10,000 $3,500


The article also notes that military members, while deployed in a combat zone, do not have to pay taxes.

Magoo August 06, 2012 at 03:03 PM
They can deduct associated expenses; travel, lodging, capitalized training.
Citizen August 06, 2012 at 07:27 PM
It is worth reading the related Snopes article--the premise that medals can be counted as 'earnings' is not false per se, but the numbers are based on a 35% tax rate (most athletes have relatively low incomes and would have a lower rate). This is not really a good 'survey' question (IMO) as this is a very oversimplified article. http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/olympics.asp

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