• Hong Kong has not won a gold medal in its five previous Winter Olympics appearances
  • Fencer Cheung Ka-long won gold in men’s foil at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • The victory, which came after 25 years, earned Hong Kong’s second-ever Olympic gold medal

Countries offer monetary rewards to their athletes for the medals they win at either the Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics.

Some offer six-figure payouts for gold medalists. Among the countries that pay gold medalists generous cash incentives is Hong Kong, which competes at the Olympics independently from China.

In Hong Kong, athletes who win gold in the Olympics could get up to $642,000, as per Forbes

Hong Kong has not won a gold medal in its five previous Winter Olympics appearances, but last year, it gave out the prize to Cheung Ka-long, a fencer, who won gold in men’s foil at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

The victory, which came after 25 years, earned Hong Kong its second Olympic gold medal. Cheung followed in the footsteps of Lee Lai Shan, who won the women's windsurfing competition in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

On top of the big prize, the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong offers smaller rewards of its own, including the equivalent of $1,900 for gold.

Aside from Hong Kong, the other countries that offer generous rewards to gold medalists include Turkey, which offers $383,000; Malaysia, which gives $238,000; and Italy, which promises $201,000  to gold medalists. 

The following are the countries that also grant generous pay-outs to gold medalists: Cyprus, $168,000; Latvia, $159,000; Hungary, $156,000; Bulgaria, $143,000; Lithuania, $143,000; Kosovo, $123,000; Estonia, $112,000 and Czech Republic, $110,000. 

These countries pay four to five times as much as the U.S. does. Forbes revealed the U.S. gifts $37,500 to its gold medalists. This is on top of the grants and benefits like health insurance that is more available to Team USA athletes. It is not funded by the government but by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which fundraises through a nonprofit foundation.

Nations similar in rewards to the U.S. for a gold medal performance are Australia, Canada, Brazil, Finland, Portugal, Serbia, Switzerland and Japan, which grants $45,000 to gold medalists. 

Preparation for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics A man photographs an illuminated logo ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China January 26, 2022. Photo: Reuters / FABRIZIO BENSCH