Medalists at the 30th Summer Olympic Games in London, which kick off on July 27, will get a heftier bonus than athletes who made the podium in previous Olympics. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism revealed a comprehensive set of measures to achieve a Top 10 finish at the upcoming Games on Thursday.
According to the announcement, the prize money for a gold medalist in London has been set at W60 million, up W10 million from four years ago. Silver medalists will get W30 million, an increase of W5 million, while bronze will be rewarded with W18 million, up W3 million (US$1=W1,138).
Korea is bidding to finish inside the top 10 in the gold medal tally for the third consecutive Olympic Games after it ranked 9th at Athens 2004 and 7th at Beijing 2008. As such, the ministry has stepped up its support for promising athletes, particularly those who won medals in Beijing four years ago or posted strong results at recent world championships.
This has resulted in extra support for the sports of archery, badminton, judo, taekwondo, shooting, swimming, weightlifting, fencing, men's gymnastics, men's wrestling and boxing. Until the London Olympics begin, athletes in these 11 disciplines will benefit from training abroad, foreign coaching staff, extra financial resources or other help.
"Our athletes wish to represent Korea under the taegeukgi, our national flag [rather than the flag of a unified Korean Peninsula], at the Olympics in London, which is being held in the British capital for the first time in 64 years," said Park Jong-kil, chief of the [South] Korea National Training Center, at Thursday’s press conference.
He was hinting that Team Korea is not considering forming a unified team with North Korea or walking side by side during the opening and closing ceremony parades. An official at the [South] Korean Olympic Committee said the government is not considering those possibilities for now.
The 1948 London Olympics were the first Summer Games in which [South] Korea participated under its national flag after the country gained independence from Japanese colonial rule.