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USA Cycling offers US$100,000 for gold

USA Cycling will reward gold medalists at the London Games with up to US$100,000 in bonus money, creating the richest known Olympics financial incentive program offered by any cycling organization in the world.

The new program, called the London 100K Challenge, will be officially announced in the coming days. It includes up to US$75,000 for silver medalists and up to US$50,000 for bronze through funding from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Cycling and the USA Cycling Development Foundation.

The U.S. team has strong medal aspirations in several events in London, including men's and women's BMX, mountain biking, several track disciplines and the women's time trial, where Kristin Armstrong is the reigning Olympic gold medalist.

The bonus money provided by the USOC comes from its Olympic incentive program, which this year will award US$25,000 for gold medals, US$15,000 for silver and US$10,000 for bronze.

USA Cycling's podium programs for 2012 and 2013 will provide an additional US$40,000 for gold medals, US$35,000 for silver and US$30,000 for bronze. The USA Cycling Development Foundation will kick in an additional US$35,000 for gold medals, US$25,000 for silver and US$15,000 for bronze.

There are certain stipulations that accompany the bonus money.

For instance, members of the men's road and time trial teams are not eligible to earn money from the 2013 USA Cycling Podium Program due to commitments to their professional teams.

Members of the men's and women's road race team will divide evenly any bonuses for which they are eligible, and the women's team pursuit members — Dotsie Bausch, Sarah Hammer, Lauren Tamayo and Jennie Reed — will individually qualify for the 2013 USA Cycling Podium Program and divide evenly all additional bonuses earned by winning an Olympic medal.

Many national governing bodies offer some type of incentive program.

The Living the Dream Medal Fund was announced in 2009 to up the ante for U.S. wrestlers at the Olympics and world championships during the current four-year Olympic cycle. Gold medalists at the London Games will receive US$250,000 in bonus money, silver receives US$50,000 and bronze US$25,000.

USA Swimming has a similar program, called “Operation Gold,” for the London Games.

Athletes who win gold receive US$75,000, silver nets US$30,000 and bronze earns US$15,000. Swimmers who set world records while winning gold also receive a US$50,000 bonus, and members of a gold medal-winning relay that sets a world record will split the same US$50,000 bonus.

The financial incentives aren't limited to American athletes, either.

Andrew Kam, who owns a gold mine along with the Kuala Lumpur Racket Club, has offered a gold bar worth more than US$600,000 to any Malaysian athlete that brings home badminton gold.

The only Olympic medals won by Malaysia have come in badminton: two silver and two bronze. Lee Chong-wei won one of the silver medals at the Beijing Games.

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