It Turns Out a Pan Am Gold Medal is Worth Next to Nothing

Ever wonder what a gold metal at the Pan Am Games is actually worth?

Compared to an Olympic gold metal, not a whole lot.

Well, aside from the bragging rights, personal sense of achievement, and well-deserved pride. All very important goals to reach, but it’s not going to make you rich.

And in a country that all too often falls short when it comes to sponsoring its athletes, it’s easy to pass this off as not being a big deal. But when you’re training at the peak level of human fitness, it might be nice to not have to worry about working a full day.

It was all outlined today in a Toronto Star article.

Unlike Olympic athletes, Pan Am-only athletes don’t benefit from significant sponsorship opportunities. This is due to the event’s much smaller audience and the fact that the Pan Am audience is typically a crowd who are devoted to certain amateur sports, according to the piece.

Photo Credit: Frank Gunn

It makes sense; for most of us Torononians, this is the first time any of us have even paid attention to the games – and that’s only because they’ve been shoved in our face. We’re not saying it’s a good thing, but it is the reality of the situation.

And it’s glaringly obvious when it comes to the athlete’s rewards that go beyond the shiny hardware.

According to Richard Powers, a senior lecturer at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and president of Commonwealth Games Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee rewards athletes for placing on the podium at the Olympics ($20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, $10,000 for bronze), but not at the Pan Ams or Commonwealth Games.

There are some opportunities to capitalize on a Pan Am win, especially if you’re an athlete with a pre-existing sponsorship deal. If these athletes perform well, there are often performance bonuses that can range from $30,000 to $100,000 in some cases (a year’s salary for many of us).

Powers says that the reality is, however, that the bonuses are usually between $5,000 and $10,000. Case in point: Canada’s rugby players received similar bonuses for their gold metal win at the Pan Am Games.

As for the actual medals, if they were melted down, they would only net $80 USD on a good day.