As we enjoy the 2012 Olympic Games from London, a lot of discussion has centered around whether or not USA Olympians have to pay income taxes if they win a medal.  The answer is...

NO.  US athletes do not pay income taxes for the medals they win.  They DO pay taxes on the money they get for winning a medal.  The U.S. Olympic Committee pays gold medal winners $25,000, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.

If they happen to win some of this money, they can deduct training expenses and other costs related to preparing for their Olympic events.  Any accountant that knows their assets from a hole in the ground can minimize any tax burden these athletes may have to bear.

The only time an Olympic medal winner would have to pay taxes on their medals is if they sell them.

Lets face facts.  Most Olympic athletes are not amateurs in this day and age.  If they work hard and succeed, they make money.  Just like the rest of us.  Some make astronomical amounts.  Michael Phelps won't be working as a lifeguard to make ends meet anytime soon.

In case you are wondering, the value of the metal in the medals is less than you might think. A gold medal is actually made up of mostly silver.  It's value would be about $644 dollars if sold strictly for it's precious metal.  A silver medal has some silver and a good amount of copper and would fetch around $330.  A bronze medal is mostly copper and would bring you a little less than five bucks.

Most Olympic medals have a lot more sentimental value than their precious metal value, which is why most athletes keep them.