The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has a program called the Athlete Excellence Fund (AEF) that rewards athletes for their performance and winning medals. While this is a great incentive, Canadian athletes still earn far less than Olympians from other countries. The AEF provides prizes in addition to grants and benefits, such as health insurance, that are more available to athletes on the U. S.
team. Unfortunately, due to Canada's poor rate of Olympic gold medals in the past 30 years, the AEF will not be paying out as much as in previous events. Dozens of countries offer bonuses to athletes who win one of the 327 medals available in the 15 sports of the Beijing Olympic Games. In fact, according to Forbes, the winners of Olympic winter medals in Hong Kong, Turkey, Malaysia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, France, the United States, Germany and other countries earn more for finishing on the podium than their Canadian counterparts. While medal bonuses fall within the purview of national Olympic committees in many countries, although sometimes backed by the government, other nations exclude middlemen and disburse them directly through their sports ministry or other government agency. Before the Games, Forbes contacted the national Olympic committees or government sports ministries of the 91 countries and territories that will compete and was able to confirm that at least 32 will pay cash prizes for the medals; only four of the respondents do not plan to pay their athletes any kind of explicit bonus for winning medals. Most athletes who compete in the Olympic Games can only hope to break even while seeking modest salaries and scant sponsorships that often don't cover the costs of years of training, equipment, medical and travel expenses.
It is clear that while it is worth being a winner in Canada, athletes from other countries are more likely to be rewarded for their hard work.