By: Harrison McCroskey

The U.S. government has taken its cut out of Olympic athletes’ earnings for quite some time. To the average American, income tax is nothing out of the ordinary. Instead of being taxed ,these athletes should be rewarded for working hard to represent their country in ways that ordinary citizens cannot.

The amount of money that the Olympic athletes actually earn is based on what medal they get. The United States Olympic Committee pays $25,000 for a gold, $15,000 for a silver, and  $10,000 for a bronze. The maximum tax that can be taken out of their total income for the Olympics is 39.6% . The IRS treats this “victory tax” the same as winning the lottery or any other similar prize. Olympic athletes earned this money by achieving physical and mental prowess, not by getting lucky in the lottery. They truly deserve the money for all the work that they put in.

This tax is also unfair because of how much these athletes spend to get ready for their respective sports and their total earnings. Many end up losing money when they compete. Several politicians have tried to get Olympic athletes a tax break, but none have been successful. In 2012, Senator Marco Rubio said, “We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it,”

One athlete that won a considerable amount in the Olympics, and had to pay a large tax was the multi-millionaire Michael Phelps. His income tax was $55,000 dollars for the  five gold medals and one silver medal that he earned this year.  A Hardin Valley BLPA teacher, Mr.Friedrich said, “Some of them are so wealthy it would be just a drop in the bucket while others of them are so poor in terms of having no income that it would become an imposition on them.” Some athletes are able to make plenty of money at the Olympics with no problem paying taxes to the U.S. government, while others don’t have as much and suffer at the expense of the government.