GB Medals at Tokyo – £3.5million per medal

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Source: BTF

How much do we pay for medals at the Tokyo Olympics?

There are some stark figures arising from GB’s great successes at Tokyo 2020.

The average cost per medal is just under £3.5m, so all the sports below Modern Pentathlon in the following table definitely have questions to answer as each of their medals cost more than the average.

It’s patently clear that very many of the better-funded sports are not as accessible as some of the other ones. Rowing, in particular, must be worried, I live in an area where there are LOTS of rowers…pretty much all of them are private school-based and do not need subsidising. My local skatepark (Bushy Park) is heavily used but it’s tiny.

Here is a story of a skateboarding park being closed down. and here is another story of one being closed down.

You also have to think that British Cycling will escape criticism by the excellent performances in MTB/BMX, although GB did finish top of the Velodrome medal table.

  • Q: What sports should we fund more and which ones less?
  • A: My personal view is that the ‘new’ sports of skateboarding, BMX, surfing and sport climbing were exciting to watch as were the mixed relays (swim/triathlon). More of those please!!!…Fencing??””?? nah, it’s not relevant in 2021 even though I’d really fancy a go at Kendo.


  • Q: If YOU had to invest more in one sport which would it be?
  • A: For me, it would be gymnastics. I don’t especially like watching it but it is accessible, it has performed well and there is scope to do much better for both men and women.


SportUK Sport funding amountMedals at Tokyo 2020Cost Per Medal
Modern pentathlon£5,498,3212£2,749,161
Archery£1,122,8790Oh dear
Badminton£946,7790Oh dear
Fencing£342,6310Oh dear
Sport climbing£678,7220Oh dear
Table tennis£325,1000Oh dear


Interestingly the Americans incentivise athletes these amounts for each medal (with caveats)

  • Gold – 37,500 USD
  • Silver – 22,500 USD
  • Bonze – 15,000 USD


with the Japanese getting similar amounts


  • Gold – $38,200
  • Silver – $25,500
  • Bronze – $12,700

Partial source:,

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2 thoughts on “GB Medals at Tokyo – £3.5million per medal

  1. this calculation implies that all money went only to medals ranks (1st/2nd/3rd) and allocated only to medals that is not the case… the 16 fourth places in Tokyo are remarkable and sponsored as well with the lottery money above

    1. yes
      there are no medals for fourth and success(and future investment) is judged by medals.
      the table really indicates some of the dilemmas that the UK has for the future of sports funding.
      the decisions that will be made, i suspect, will be influenced toward non-inclusive sports (often because those kinds of sports are not accessible to many other countries and so the chances of medals are increased eg sailing, eg track cycling will have no/few poorer nations medalling)

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