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Money For Medals: How Sochi Athletes Stand To Cash In

Athletes competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics stand to gain tens -- or even hundreds -- of thousands of dollars if they bring home a gold medal. But some of the highest cash bonuses are being offered by countries that are not expected to win any gongs at Sochi, since winter sports such as skiing or curling are not their specialty. (Written by Antoine Blua based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani, Armenian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian services)

The biggest pot is being offered by Azerbaijan, which is sending four athletes to Sochi. A national Olympic committee official confided to RFE/RL that none is expected to reach the podium; but in case one of them does, he or she will receive nearly $510,000 for a gold medal, $255,000 for silver, or $130,000 for bronze.
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The biggest pot is being offered by Azerbaijan, which is sending four athletes to Sochi. A national Olympic committee official confided to RFE/RL that none is expected to reach the podium; but in case one of them does, he or she will receive nearly $510,000 for a gold medal, $255,000 for silver, or $130,000 for bronze.

Neighboring Armenia offers cash awards of $30,000 for gold medals, $20,000 for silvers, and $10,000 for bronzes. Neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia medaled at the last Winter Olympics. 
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Neighboring Armenia offers cash awards of $30,000 for gold medals, $20,000 for silvers, and $10,000 for bronzes. Neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia medaled at the last Winter Olympics. 

Kazakh women's moguls freestyler Yulia Galysheva competing in Vancouver in 2010. Kazakhstan, which won a silver medal in Vancouver, is to award gold medalists in Sochi $250,000 and silver winners $150,000. Runners-up stand to cash in, too: $75,000 is promised for athletes in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth places.
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Kazakh women's moguls freestyler Yulia Galysheva competing in Vancouver in 2010. Kazakhstan, which won a silver medal in Vancouver, is to award gold medalists in Sochi $250,000 and silver winners $150,000. Runners-up stand to cash in, too: $75,000 is promised for athletes in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth places.

Belarusian Syarhey Novikau takes aim in the men's 10-kilometer sprint biathlon final in the 2010 Olympics. Cash awards in both Belarus and Ukraine include $150,000 for gold medals, $75,000 for silver, and $50,000 for bronze. Belarus won three medals in Vancouver...
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Belarusian Syarhey Novikau takes aim in the men's 10-kilometer sprint biathlon final in the 2010 Olympics. Cash awards in both Belarus and Ukraine include $150,000 for gold medals, $75,000 for silver, and $50,000 for bronze. Belarus won three medals in Vancouver...

...while Ukraine was shut out of the medal count in 2010.
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...while Ukraine was shut out of the medal count in 2010.

Russian figure-skating pair Vera Bazarova and Yury Larionov perform during the free program in Vancouver. Medalists from this year's host country will be awarded prize money of $113.000 for gold, $71,000 for silver, and $42,000 for bronze.
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Russian figure-skating pair Vera Bazarova and Yury Larionov perform during the free program in Vancouver. Medalists from this year's host country will be awarded prize money of $113.000 for gold, $71,000 for silver, and $42,000 for bronze.

Russian national hockey superstar Aleksandr Ovechkin looks on from the bench in the quarter-final game in 2010 against Canada. Russia won 15 medals in Vancouver, including three golds -- the worst gold tally since it started competing on its own at Lillehammer 1994, following the break-up of the Soviet Union.
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Russian national hockey superstar Aleksandr Ovechkin looks on from the bench in the quarter-final game in 2010 against Canada. Russia won 15 medals in Vancouver, including three golds -- the worst gold tally since it started competing on its own at Lillehammer 1994, following the break-up of the Soviet Union.

American Lindsey Vonn celebrates after winning a women's downhill gold medal in Vancouver. The cash awards among former Soviet countries compare pretty favorably to those of wealthier Western countries like the United States, which is promising $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze in Sochi.
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American Lindsey Vonn celebrates after winning a women's downhill gold medal in Vancouver. The cash awards among former Soviet countries compare pretty favorably to those of wealthier Western countries like the United States, which is promising $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze in Sochi.

Germany's Maria Riesch clears a gate on a slalom run in the super combined event in 2010. In Germany, private foundation Deutsche Sporthilfe is offering from $2,000 for an eighth-place finish to $20,000 for gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
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Germany's Maria Riesch clears a gate on a slalom run in the super combined event in 2010. In Germany, private foundation Deutsche Sporthilfe is offering from $2,000 for an eighth-place finish to $20,000 for gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Team Canada players show off their medals after the ice hockey women's final against the United States in Vancouver. The Canadian Olympic Committee offers athletes $9,000 for gold, $6,800 for silver, and $4,500 for bronze medals.
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Team Canada players show off their medals after the ice hockey women's final against the United States in Vancouver. The Canadian Olympic Committee offers athletes $9,000 for gold, $6,800 for silver, and $4,500 for bronze medals.

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