Posted February. 23, 2010 09:06,
A ruling Grand National Party lawmaker said yesterday that he will propose this week a revision bill on the National Sports Promotion Act to more than double the pension of Olympic medalists.
Rep. Han Sun-gyo, who was elected in the Yongin-Suji constituency of Gyeonggi Province and is on the National Assemblys Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting and Communication Committee, said the majority of medalists in unpopular events suffer from poverty after retirement.
Hans bill seeks to raise the monthly pension of gold medal winners from one million won (871 U.S. dollars) won to 1.5 million won (1,307 dollars), that of silver medalists from 450,000 won (392 dollars) to 800,000 won (697 dollars), and that of bronze medalists from 300,000 (261 dollars) to 500,000 won (435 dollars).
If passed, the bill will also affect existing medalists.
Pension for former athletes is awarded under the rules of the National Sports Promotion Foundation. The rules translate medals won at the Olympics, the world championships and the Asian Games into points, offering medalists up to one million won (871 dollars). The rule last underwent a revision in 2000, and Han said the amount of pension should be raised in view of inflation.
The Korea Institute of Sport Science has found that one gold medal is worth 56.1 billion won (48.8 million dollars) in economic value, he said. Given the benefits that encourage public pride, it has an even greater value than that.