No AOC medal payments for retiring Olympians
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has confirmed it does not give money to retiring athletes, even if they finished on the podium at the Games.
Following Tokyo 2020 it has been widely reported that Australian Olympians are paid $20,000 from the AOC for winning gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. While this is true, the money is conditional.
Known as Medal Incentive Funding (MIF), the AOC said the payment is "an annual athlete incentive scheme, not a reward program" – so athletes who stop competing at an elite level will not receive the payment.
"MIF aims to incentivise athletes to continue training, with the goal of representing Australia at the next Olympic Games, summer and winter," an AOC statement said.
At this stage it is not clear how many athletes who won a medal in Tokyo are planning to retire.
Individual sporting federations or wealthy benefactors may give Olympians a cash bonus or gift for winning a medal, however this is separate from the AOC's funding.
For example, Swimming Australia said mining magnate Gina Rinehart's sponsorship meant Olympic and Paralympic swimmers received unconditional medal bonuses on top of MIF.
What about the Paralympians?
Unlike the AOC funding, Paralympic athletes will receive money regardless of whether they continue training in the sport.
"This includes any athlete who is planning to retire."
The Morrison Government are in the process of finalising the details of the scheme with Paralympics Australia.
However, during Question Time the Prime Minister said Paralympic athletes would get "equivalent payments to our Olympic medallists", suggesting each gold medallist will receive $20,000, with $15,000 and $10,000 for silver and bronze respectively.
Who gets medal money?
Every year athletes who finish on the podium at the Olympics, or at an agreed benchmark event in non-Olympic years, become eligible for MIF the following year if they continue their training.
For example, the Australian women's 4x100m freestyle relay team won gold in Tokyo.
Next January, if Swimming Australia's High-Performance Director confirms one of the relay team have retired they wouldn't be paid anything from the AOC for their gold medal performance.
However, their three team-mates who are continuing to train with the intention of representing Australia would each be paid $20,000 from the AOC direct to their bank accounts.
If athletes continue to perform in 2022, coming first, second or third in a "benchmark event", they then become eligible for another round of funding in January 2023.
Do multi-medallists get multiple payments?
Athletes who win multiple medals are only entitled to one payment for their best result.
So despite winning seven medals in Tokyo Emma McKeon will get a total of $20,000 from the AOC (not $110,000 for her four gold medals and three bronze).
What about team sports?
Medallists in team sports are also eligible for the incentive payment, with the number of athletes eligible linked to the Olympic Qualification System.
"As an example, for men's basketball the team size is 12, so a payment of $120,000 is made at $10,000 per team member for their bronze achievement," the AOC statement said.
"Sports with relays, such as team pursuit in cycling and in swimming, each member, including athletes in heats, receive a payment.
"So even though a relay would appear to be four it is often six or even eight athletes."
How is the MIF funded?
MIF is fully funded by the AOC, which is independent of the federal government.
"Funding for the scheme comes from our commercial program, Team Appeal which including state government contributions, and distributions from the Australian Olympic Foundation," the AOC said.
Over the last four years the AOC said they paid out $7.7 million directly to athletes.