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Chinese Top Olympians Get 50,000 US Dlrs
    2008-08-26 13:01:15     Xinhua

They're not literally worth their weight in gold, but China's top Olympians will each get a bonus of 350,000 yuan (50,000 U.S. dollars), almost double the amount paid after the 2004 Athens Games, local media reported.

The prize for gold medalists at the 2004 Games was 200,000 yuan each, the Guangdong-based Guangzhou Daily reported, citing Xiao Shan, deputy head of the General Administration of Sports.

That's but a fraction of what it cost to win each medal. Liu Peng, the country's sports chief, said on Sunday that average government investment in each gold medal was about 15.7 million yuan a year.

He said the calculation was based on 51 golds that Chinese competitors secured during the 2008 Games, vs. the annual government investment of 800 million yuan on sports.

The investment in each medal at every level, a total of 100 during the Beijing Games, would be about 8 million yuan, using Liu's calculations.

Liu also said the sports sector would get another 800 million yuan each year from sports-oriented lotteries, although 60 percent of that would go for facilities for the general public, especially farmers.

He said China's post-Olympics government spending on sports would be unchanged despite the unprecedented gold medal haul.

It's common for Olympian medal-winners to get a bonus. After the 2004 Games, each U.S. medalist got 25,000 U.S. dollars. Russia, which also made a strong showing, paid 250,000 U.S. dollars.

Kenya offered cash, a TV and a washing machine, according to media reports.

 
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