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Contrasting Reward for Olympic Gold Medallists

Posted September. 03, 2004 22:04,   


Each gold medalist of the Olympics received different rewards.

There were a total of 13 Korean athletes who won gold medals during the Olympics.

Korea won a total of nine gold medals, and also won team events such as men’s doubles badminton and women’s team archery, which increases the actual number of athletes who won gold medals.

However, all athletes did not receive the same treatment.

Although pensions provided by the Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundatione and rewards handed out by the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) are provided according to a set standard, the rewards that are provided by the individual’s team and associations have an immense impact on how much the athletes receive in total.

According to a tally performed by Dong-A Ilbo, the athlete who earned the most money after the Olympics was wrestling star and gold medalist Jung Jee-hyun (21, Korea National Sports University).

Although Jung Jee-hyun is still an undergraduate, he is guaranteed to enter the Samsung Life Insurance team in two years.

The “future Samsung man” fortunately received the 100 million won reward granted to gold medalists affiliated with Samsung.

The university also granted him a reward of two million won.

On top of that, the chairman of the Korea Wrestling Federation promised him a reward of 100 million won plus extras in rewards.

As a result, Jung Jee-hyun will receive a 67.2 million-won pension in addition to a Korean Olympic Committee reward of $20,000 (approximately 24 million won) that will grant him a total of at least 293.2 million won.

Park Sung-hyun (21, Jeonbuk Provincial Government), the only two-time Olympic gold medalist during this year’s Olympics in archery, will receive a total of 265.68 million won, ranking her second in total winnings and rewards.

Because of her second consecutive title in archery, she received an additional 10 percent premium on her pension, which boosted the amount of money she will receive to 127.68 million won. She also received 42 million won from the Korean Olympic Committee, which was the highest ever granted.

The Archery Association’s Honorary Chairman Jung Mong-gu, also the Hyundai-Kia Automobile Group Chairman, also rewarded her with 70 million won along with a recreational vehicle estimated to be worth 20 million won.

Judo’s Lee Won-hee (23, Korea Racing Association) and table tennis champion Yoo Seung-min (22, Samsung Life Insurance) each received 100 million won from their teams and 50 million won from their associations, ranking them third with a total of 241.2 million won.

Badminton men’s doubles Kim Dong-moon (29, Samsung Electro-mechanics) and Ha Tae-gwon (29, Samsung Electro-mechanics) received a team reward of 18 million won from the Korean Olympic Committee and rank fifth in rewards.

Women’s team archery gold medalist and singles’ silver medalist Lee Sung-jin (19, Jeonbuk Provincial Government) did not receive much from her team, but recorded pension points worth 84 million won and will receive a total of 187 million won.

On the other hand, Taekwondo’s Moon Dae-sung (28, Samsung S1) and Jang Jee-yun (25, Samsung S1) did not receive much from their associations, leaving them in the lower tier. Despite their fame and well-known reputations, Yoon Mee-jin (21, Kyunghee University) and Jang Yong-ho (28, Yechun County Office), both gold medalists in the team archery events, received only 40 percent of what Jung Jee-hyun was rewarded.

On the other hand, Hwang Young-jo, who won the marathon golf medal during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics 56 years after Son Gee-jung, received the most in rewards in history.

He received an astonishing 300 million won at the time, which would be 1.5 billion won based on estimated current value by today’s economic standards.

Recently, the Taeguk Warriors, who made it to the semi-finals in the World Cup, received 300 million won each, and 2001 Boston Marathon Champion Lee Bong-ju received an $80,000 tournament reward, a guaranteed payment of $60,000 just for being able to participate in the event, and a 50 million won reward from Samsung Electronics that totals to 220 million won in additional income.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com