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USA Wrestling to pay a record $950,000 in Living the Dream Medal Fund bonuses to its 2020 Olympic medalists

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 12, 2021, 12:55 p.m. (ET)

David Taylor of the USA with the American Flag after winning his Olympic gold medal. Photo by Larry Slater.

Based upon the historic performance of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, USA Wrestling, through its Living the Dream Medal Fund, will pay out a record $950,000 in bonuses to its nine Olympic wrestling medalists from the United States.

The Living the Dream Medal Fund is led by a group of individual donors who are called Stewards, along with support from USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

During Olympic years, the fund provides $250,000 for an Olympic gold medal, $50,000 for an Olympic silver medal and $25,000 for an Olympic bronze medal. For the third straight Olympic Games, the Living the Dream Medal Fund provided wrestlers with the highest level of individual bonuses of any Olympic sport in the United States.

LIVING THE DREAM MEDAL FUND 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES BONUS PAYMENTS
$250,000 – Tamyra Mensah-Stock, 2020 women’s freestyle Olympic champion (68 kg)
$250,000 – David Taylor, 2020 men’s freestyle Olympic champion (86 kg)
$250,000 – Gable Steveson, 2020 men’s freestyle Olympic champion (125 kg)
$50,000 – Adeline Gray, 2020 women’s freestyle Olympic silver medal (76 kg)
$50,000 – Kyle Snyder, 2020 men’s freestyle Olympic silver medal (97 kg)
$25,000 – Thomas Gilman, 2020 men’s freestyle Olympic bronze medal (57 kg)
$25,000 – Helen Maroulis, 2020 women’s freestyle Olympic bronze medal (57 kg)
$25,000 – Kyle Dake, 2020 men’s freestyle Olympic bronze medal (74 kg)
$25,000 – Sarah Hildebrandt, 2020 women’s freestyle Olympic bronze medal (50 kg)
Total Olympic Games payout- $950,000

“The Living the Dream Medal Fund has had a tremendous impact on our National Team. Thanks to the generous support of our wonderful Stewards, as well as the USOPC and USA Wrestling, the fund has provided substantial support for American wrestlers to pursue sustained competitive excellence on the world stage,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director.

The 2020 Olympic wrestling medalists will receive their bonus checks at special presentations to be announced by USA Wrestling.

The $950,000 in bonus payments far exceed the payouts from the two previous Olympic Games since the Living the Dream Medal Fund was created, which was $575,000 for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, and $525,000 from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In Tokyo, the U.S. wrestlers won three Olympic gold medals, two Olympic silver medals and four Olympic bronze medals, for a total of nine medals. It was the most medals won by U.S. wrestlers in a non-boycotted Olympic Games, and a big jump from the medals won by U.S. wrestlers at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The previous high from a non-Olympic Games were eight medalists at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, in which a number of Soviet-bloc nations boycotted, the U.S. won 13 wrestling medals (including nine gold medals). Please note that at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, only U.S. wrestlers were in the competition, so the USA won all seven gold medals and all 21 medals.

The Living the Dream Medal Fund also provides bonuses for U.S. wrestlers who win medals at the Senior World Championships. The fund provides $50,000 for a gold medal, $25,000 for a silver medal and $15,000 for a bronze medal at the World Championships.

Since its creation in 2009, the Living the Dream Medal Fund, with the 2020 Olympic Games included, has awarded $3.7 million in bonuses to World and Olympic medalists.

The Living the Dream Medal Fund provides only bonus payments. Wrestling athletes also receive additional support in the form of stipends and performance bonuses at other specific events, as part of their National Team contracts. Many others receive support from professional jobs, club and RTC support, sponsorships and other income sources.

The next opportunity for U.S. wrestlers to receive Living the Dream Medal Fund bonuses will be the 2021 Senior World Championships in Oslo, Norway, October 2-10.

Annual Living the Dream Medal Fund payouts
2009 - $65,000
2010 - $40,000
2011 – $95,000
2012 – $575,000
2013 – $95,000
2014 – $135,000
2015 – $245,000
2016 - $600,000
2017 - $270,000
2018 - $350,000
2019 - $280,000
2021 - $950,000