SHENYANG, China, September 12. SUN Yang, who represented Zhejiang at the Chinese National Games and won five gold medals, walked away with $200,000 in cold, hard cash this last week according to Beijing Mirror’s Laura Qian.
As detailed by Qian, a friend of Swimming World, each province sets its own prizes with no unified standard at the meet. Zhejiang, Sun’s team, awarded $40,000 for gold medals this time around at the Chinese National Games. That means his five golds in Shenyang netted him a clean $200,000.
The money was worth it for Zhejiang as Sun also netted his province five more National Games gold medal equivalents in the province standings from his London Olympic haul.
At the Chinese National Games, an Olympic gold medal converts to two National Games golds, while a world record also counts for a National Games gold. That earned Zhejiang another five golds in the medal standings, which Zhejiang already paid Sun for following London to the tune of $200,000 as well.
This means that while the Chinese National Games are certainly at the top of China’s priorities when it comes to its swimming culture, an Olympic gold medal is now worth more than a National Games gold. Regardless, China definitely drops some major money on its top swimmers.
All told, Sun walked away with $400,000 from the Chinese National Games and London Olympics thanks to the Zhejiang province reward system. Wonder how much Michael Phelps would have made at a U.S. Nationals with a similar system?
As also explained to Swimming World, the gold medal prize money swung from $80,000 to $30,000 by the provinces. The Liaoning and Hainan provinces offered up $80,000 for gold medals, while Shandong not only offered $60,000 for a gold medal but also a free apartment.