New Zealand's Olympic athletes will pocket huge cash pay-outs for their efforts in London, ranking their performance pay among the highest in the world.
Our gold medal-winning rowers will pick up $60,000 each before tax, and silver and bronze winners get $55,000 each. The payouts go down to $20,000 for a 16th place, with Nick Willis to receive $25,000 for his 9th place yesterday.
Athletes competing in team events - deemed to be more than eight members - will get from $20,000 each for eighth place to $35,000 each for winning gold.
When you compare that with the $NZD 31,000 that Americans receive for gold, or the $NZD 26,000 Australians receive, we are fairly well off.
The Performance Enhancement Grants (PEGs) are taxpayer-funded, handed out by High Performance Sport New Zealand - the agency tasked with generating international sporting success.
The medals themselves are of little comparative physical value.
Gold medals at the London Games are made largely of silver with a thin gold coat and some copper which values them at $706 by current prices, according to the World Gold Council.
In fact, for the first time, the silver content in the 2012 medals is worth more than the gold.
But a gold medal can give athletes the Midas touch with sponsors, or, for some medallists, offer an attractive resale value.
The marketing value of a gold medal varies from sport to sport and country to country but could translate into sponsorships worth millions of dollars.
Swimming, track and field, and gymnastics attract the most interest from sponsors.
Here is a list of the prizes on offer for gold medal winners of eight nations competing at the London Games.
The United States
The United States pays $NZD 31,000 to gold medallists.
Australians receive $NZD 26,000, are featured on an Australia stamp, and get a flight upgrade home.
Singaporean athletes are being offered one of the biggest incentives with an offer of 1 million Singapore dollars ($NZD 989,000) for a gold. Singapore has never won gold at the Olympics.
Russia has promised athletes $NZD 166,000 for golds.
There are reports Italy has offered $NZD 224,000 for gold.
China, which is jostling with the United States for top of the gold medals tally, has not released details of financial incentives but the Chinese language Sports Weekly reported they were likely to hand gold winners $NZD 63,000.
India has promised coaching jobs to athletes who win medals.
British athletes, however, will have to settle for national glory and their image on a stamp rather than cash.
- HERALD ONLINE