Cost of each Team GB Olympic medal revealed
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Cost of each Team GB Olympic medal revealed

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The average cost of a Team GB Olympic medal has been calculated at £4.29m (€4.75m, US$5.25m) – with gymnastics and shooting finishing as the most cost-effective Olympic sports and hockey and sailing the most expensive.

The figures come from analysis by Sports Management magazine, which looked at the level of UK Sport funding during the Rio Olympic cycle (2013-17) and compared it with the performances of each sport at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Shooting was deemed the most cost effective of all sports, as it received £3.95m (€4.37m, US$4.83m) of public funding over the four-year cycle and delivered two bronze medals – giving each a “cost” of £1.98m (€2.19m, US$2.42m)

Meanwhile, the gymnastics team exceeded the target of three to five medals set for it by UK Sport and secured seven podium finishes. As the sport received £14.6m (€16.2m, US$17.9m) during the cycle, it meant that each gymnastics medal came at a cost of just £2.09m (€2.31m, US$2.56m).

At the other end of the cost-effective table are sailing and hockey.

The women’s hockey team’s victory at Rio might have been one of the highlights of the Games for fans, but as more than £16.1m (€17.8m, US$19.7m) was ploughed into the sport by UK Sport during the cycle, the single gold was the most expensive of all of Team GB’s medals.

The hockey team does, however, consist of 16 players – each of whom receives individual funding – so when calculating average costs, there’s an argument to divide the cost among all 16.

Had the men’s hockey team finished in the top three, as expected, then sailing would have finished as the sport with the most expensive medals at Rio.

A total of £25.5m (€28.2m, US$31.2m) was invested in sailing over the Rio Game cycle, but with three medals, the two golds and silver ended up costing £8.5m each.

In total, Team GB amassed 67 medals at Rio and of the 366 British athletes at the Games, more than a third (130) came back with a medal.

In total, UK Sport invested a record £274,465,541 in Olympic sports and a further £72,786,652 in Paralympic disciplines.

To read the full analysis, click here for the October issue of Sports Management.

Average cost of medal for each sport

Hockey £16,141,393

Sailing £8,501,351

Judo £7,366,200

Rowing £6,524,572

Equestrian £5,997,620

Badminton £5,737,524

Canoeing £5,010,904

Boxing £4,588,145

Athletics £3,832,029

Swimming £3,465,971

Taekwondo £2,684,612

Cycling £2,522,318

Triathlon £2,485,992

Diving £2,489,286

Gymnastics £2,087,918

Shooting £1,975,444

UK Sport also spent £15,859,012 of funding on four Olympic sports which didn’t achieve medals at Rio:

Modern pentathlon £6,972,174

Fencing £4,225,261

Archery £2,952,237

Weightlifting £1,709,340

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The average cost of a Team GB Olympic medal has been calculated at £4.29m – with gymnastics and shooting finishing as the most cost-effective Olympic sports and hockey and sailing the most expensive.
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