Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines team competes during Weightlifting – 55 kg Women’s Group On the third day of the 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo International Forum on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Chris Graythen | Getty Images
More than 600 American athletes are competing in the Tokyo Olympics, and the United States has so far won 11 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee awards athletes $ 37,500 for each gold medal won, $ 22,500 for silver and $ 15,000 for bronze. Most of this premium is not taxable except that athletes report gross income in excess of one million dollars.
American athletes also receive other forms of support including health insurance, access to top-level medical facilities and care for university schools.
In comparison, Singapore awards its gold medalists almost 20 times more than American players who get their first individual gold medal for the city-state stand to receive 1 million Singapore dollars ($ 737,000). The prize is taxable and the winners are required to return a portion of their dues to their national sports associations for future training and development.
The country has sent only 23 athletes to Tokyo.
The sports economy in the United States allows athletes to better monetize their talents that are mostly driven by the private sector, according to Unmish Parthasarathi, founder and executive director of consulting firm Picture Board Partners.
In places like Singapore, India and elsewhere, many of the national sports initiatives are led by governments that sometimes use higher monetary rewards to encourage a growing sports culture, he told CNBC.
Athletes who win gold receive 1 million ringgit ($ 236,149), while silver winners are awarded 300,000 ringgit, and 100,000 ringgit is given to athletes who win bronze. In dollar terms, a Malaysian Olympic bronze winner will receive a higher performance reward than a gold winner from Australia or Canada.
In addition to receiving monetary and non-monetary rewards from their countries for winning medals, the Olympians rely on other revenue streams for their sporting efforts.
Athletes from bigger, more competitive countries receives salaries or training grants by their national sports associations. Top performers collect cash prizes by winning national and international tournaments. Others pull a regular salary holding a variety of jobs.
Some, like American badminton player Zhang Beiwen, would be based on crowdsourcing to finance his trip to Tokyo. Most of the Team USA athletes are not represented by sports agents and some do not even have sponsorships or endorsements, according to a Forbes report.
Naomi Osaka of the Japan Team serves during her Third Round Women’s Singles match against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic Team on the fourth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Tennis Park on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
David Ramos | Getty Images
A handful of athletes can score multimillion-dollar endorsements or sponsorship deals, both before competing in the Olympics and after achieving success in the Games. For example, tennis star Naomi Osaka it would have earned $ 55 million from approvals in 12 months, and was named the highest paid female athlete ever, according to reports.
But making a profit is rare, and almost the norm.
Parthasarathi said it was a profitable career move for some athletes are to go into coaching after retirement since people are ready to pay a prize for the Olympic seniors.
Disclosure: CNBC parent, NBCUniversal, owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the holder of the U.S. broadcasting rights to all Summer and Winter Games until 2032.