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The 2018 Olympic Gold Medal Is Probably Not Worth What You Think

The moment an athlete gets awarded an Olympic medal is always so special, with the flowers, tears, and the big shiny circle placed around their neck. Most of us never stop to think much about those medals since the likelihood of us ever even seeing one in person is pretty low, and the chance of us achieving one is even more miniscule. But if you start to think about the medals themselves, you will probably wonder how much is the 2018 Olympic gold medal worth? The answer will probably surprise you.

The 2018 Olympic gold medal is likely worth about $600, according to Nasdaq. They tracked down a precious metals wholesale firm to calculate the exact value of an Olympic gold medal. Due to the fact that the gold medal is actually made of mostly silver, it's worth considerably less than you might think. Nasdaq reported that the "actual combined value of the gold and silver composition in a Pyeongchang Winter Olympics gold medal would be worth approximately $577.41." That's not even quite enough to cover a flight to Mexico to warm up from spending your winter training on the frozen slopes or ice rink!

The sheer amount of silver itself gives the medal some monetary value, but the check you win when you are an Olympic champion is significantly more.

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The United States Olympic Committee will pay American athletes who earn gold medals in the 2018 Winter Olympics $37,500, $22,500 for silver medalists, and $15,000 for bronze medalists. Business Insider explained that athletes who place lower than third don't get anything simply for competing. CNN reported that "The U.S. is one of the only countries that doesn't provide government funding to its Olympians." Instead, winners used to have to pay taxes on their prizes!

Until recently, United States Olympic champions had to pay federal and state taxes on both their monetary winnings and the value of their Olympic medals. Well, people who only won bronze medals didn't have to pay taxes on those because their value was negligible enough not to warrant it in sort of a consolation prize for third place champs. However, federal legislation was enacted in 2016 to discontinue the requirement that Olympians pay taxes on their medals or prize money, said CNN.

Other countries pay significantly more than the United States does when their athletes make it to the podium. For instance, "In the 2016 games, a Singaporean athlete who won gold was awarded $753,000 from his home country," reported Business Insider. However, the country has only earned five gold medals in its entire tenure at the games, so it has to pay out the big bucks much less often than the United States.

Time pointed out, though, that while the monetary value of an Olympic medal might be quite low, a few factors can increase its value to collectors. If you were to sell an Olympic medal simply for the value of its metal, a gold would only be worth $577. But if that medal was won by Michael Phelps or Simone Biles, it could be worth much, much more.

Medals from athletes no one has ever heard or from sports that aren't so popular will garner a base price of $10,000, according to Boston-based RR Auction. Medals from famous athletes who won the Olympic gold decades ago could fetch into the millions! For instance, "The only remaining medal of the original four won by Jesse Owens in 1936 sold for $1.47 million in 2013," reported Time. However, the famous track and field star didn't get to take advantage of that chunk of change, however, as he passed away in 1980.

So while the value of the Olympic medal itself may seem somewhat underwhelming, there is no price tag you can put on the experience of earning Olympic gold.

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