Not all, but many other countries, pay similar—or bigger—bonuses.
In 2012, Russia was reportedly paying 5,000 for gold, ,600 for silver and ,400 for bronze.
Usain Bolt will cash in whether he outruns the competition or not (he probably will). But for most of the 10,500 athletes from 206 countries competing in the Rio Games, what can range from four years to a lifetime of training all comes down to the next three weeks.
And this year, boxing opened up its qualifying rounds to professionals.
Though the athletes allowed to sign sky-high endorsement deals (provided they aren't on an NCAA team at the time or planning to be on one—Missy Franklin famously turned down millions after the London Games in order to swim in college), only a small number of them truly hit that jackpot.
Instead, most seek out smaller deals for cash or services, such as use of training facilities, in order to get by, and part-time—and full-time—jobs are common among aspiring Olympians.
But even among pros and the best of the best…According to a 2014 study by BBC Sports, 35 out of 56 sports listed paid prize money at the world level of competition.
Only 25 of those paid equal prize money to men and women.