Olympics-Russia to double bonuses for medal winners in Vancouver

MOSCOW, May 19 (Reuters) - Russia will more than double its cash bonuses for athletes who win medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver despite the global economic downturn.

Deputy Sports Minister Gennady Alyoshin told parliament members on Tuesday that every Russian Olympic champion next year would get a 100,000 euro ($136,300) bonus.

Silver and bronze medal winners will receive 60,000 and 40,000 euro bonuses respectively.

“It should give our athletes great motivation to succeed in Vancouver,” Alyoshin was quoted as saying by local media.

“This is by far the biggest bonus we have ever paid to our athletes for winning Olympic medals,” said vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Vladimir Vasin.

“I don’t think you would find similar financial rewards anywhere else in the world.”

The ROC paid $50,000, $30,000 and $20,000 for every gold, silver and bronze medal at last year’s Beijing Olympics.

Russian Olympic officials have said the country plans to win about 40 medals, including at least nine golds, at next year’s Games in Vancouver. (Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by Sonia Oxley; To comment on this story: