Chinese Olympians Receive Money, Homes For Olympic Success
China's Olympic Gold Medalists have been rewarded "with lavish gifts by the state," including cash bonuses and luxury sea-front apartments, according to Alastair Himmer of REUTERS. Real estate companies have been "lining up to sponsor athletes" by furnishing them with new housing after their success at last month's London Games. Chinese swimmers Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen both received apartments worth 3M yuan ($472,600) from a company in their hometown of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Table tennis player Zhang Jike, from the coastal city Qingdao, Shandong province, was given a 120-square meter apartment with a sea view. Women's badminton Gold Medalist Li Xuerui "will move out of the small house she shared with her parents" into a 100-square meter flat in the municipality of Chongqing. Athletes have also been "royally paid" for their achievements at the London Games. During a visit to Hong Kong and Macao last week, Olympic champions pocketed HK$25.2M ($3.25M) from Hong Kong entrepreneurs. They also bagged another HK$10.2M ($1.3M) from the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (REUTERS, 9/1).
EXERCISING CAUTION: In Beijing, Tang Zhe reported that experts say the Olympic stars "should be cautious about choosing their sponsors." Beijing Sport University sports economy and industry Professor Xiao Shuhong said, "Some houses given to the champions are still under construction. Take Zhang as an example, his house will be completed in 2014 and the purpose of the bestowal is to make advertising. The commercial value of athletes have been dramatically increased after their Olympic wins, and they should not sign sponsorships so easily as the value of some brands could not match [their achievements]" (CHINA DAILY, 9/1).
DON'T HAVE A COW: RT.com reported that South African entrepreneur Jan Skannel decided to honor six of his country's athletes who won Gold Medals at the London Games by giving each a cow. Skannel, who said he was ready to give the horned presents --valued at around €700 ($880) -- to four South African rowers and two swimmers (RT.com, 9/2).