U.S. women learn payback can pay off

Posted: August 12, 2012

LONDON - The U.S. women's soccer team made no secret of the fact that Thursday's gold-medal showdown with Japan was a grudge match since Japan beat the Americans in penalty kicks in last summer's World Cup final. And, after their 2-1 win before a crowd of more than 80,000 at Wembley Stadium, the women learned that payback can make you rich.

That's because each U.S. athlete who wins a gold medal in the London Games gets a cash reward of $25,000 from the United States Olympic Committee. But in addition to that, U.S. Soccer is giving the team an additional $1.5 million to divide however the players want.

Korea's unique reward

The rewards given to South Korean medal winners may not be as financially significant as the cash bonuses American champions are getting, but they could have a bigger impact on individuals.

Medal winners in South Korea are exempted from the 21 months of military service that their fellow countrymen must do before they are 29.

Kim Bok-yung, a member of the soccer team that Friday beat Japan, 2-0, for the bronze medal, said being able to skip military service "makes me as happy as winning the bronze medal."

Lochte going Hollywood

Gold-medal winning swimmer Ryan Lochte is taking his newfound celebrity to Hollywood, according to E Online.

"I'm definitely looking towards Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor, so we'll see what happens," the 28-year-old told the Today show on Friday.

Confirming that he would like to make a splash on reality TV and other glitzy industries, Lochte added: "I definitely want to move to L.A. That's been a big goal of mine, getting into fashion because that is my passion.

"I definitely want to get into fashion and design and my own clothing line."

Bad day for '04 cyclist

Olympic officials stripped U.S. cyclist Tyler Hamilton of his gold medal from the 2004 Athens games after he admitted doping before the event.

The 41-year-old, who won the men's individual time trial and was 18th in the men's road race, admitted in a June letter to the International Olympic Committee that he "used performance-enhancing drugs in advance of the Athens Olympic Games," the IOC said Friday in a statement.

Russian silver medalist Viatcheslav Ekimov will be named the champion, with American Bobby Julich getting the silver and Australia's Michael Rogers promoted to bronze.

Nellum to carry U.S. flag

Olympic silver medalist Bryshon Nellum will carry the U.S. flag at Sunday's closing ceremonies of the London Olympics.

Nellum was told by doctors that he might never be an elite athlete again after he was shot in the legs while leaving a restaurant near the campus of Southern California in 2008. Four years later, he's an Olympic medalist.

Nellum was part of the men's 4x400-meter relay team, which finished second to the Bahamas on Friday night. He also competed in the 400-meter dash in London, making the semifinal round.

Nellum says he's "humbled by this incredible privilege."

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said Nellum's courage "embodies the Olympic spirit."

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