We all, I am sure, feel pride when we see our Olympic athletes on the podium and a thrill if they occupy the top and we hear our national anthem while Old Glory is raised.
Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin, who hails from unfortunately famous Aurora, CO, was offered six figures to do endorsements and turned it down so that she could continue competing on her high school and (future) college swim teams. Her dedication is that deep. Gabby Douglas moved from Virginia Beach to Iowa so that she could train with Liang Chow. John Orozco‘s* mom went along on the two-hour round-trip commute from the Bronx to Chappaqua, twice daily, so that he could train there. You would have to be living under a rock not to know the story of Michael Phelps, raised by a single mom, a middle school principal with three children. Great sacrifices went into all of their training – theirs and that of all of our Olympic Team.
Medals at the Olympics are accompanied by cash prizes. Gold gets you $25,000; silver, $15,000; and bronze, $10,000. The athletes are taxed on these winnings - whether or not they accept to do endorsements. That is what our government does to our heroes! Shocking!
In a presidential season when taxes are among the contentious issues (when are they not?) there seems to be a fair question to ask of the candidates: Will you work to suspend these taxes that hurt our heroes? It should be asked of Mitt Romney (whose answer might flip-flop depending on whether his horse medals in dressage or not), and it should also be asked of Barack Obama who spent some time today talking about the balance beam among other events.
Should Olympic medalists be paying taxes on their winnings at rates higher than the one percenters? Should they be paying taxes at all just because they went higher, faster, stronger, or stuck the dismount? Of course if we ask these questions we will get words. It’s always words with them. One guy is actually doing something about it, and whatever side you are on this election year, you have to applaud Senator Marco Rubio for taking action! Bravo!
August 1, 2012 5:07 PM
- By Sara Dover
(L-R) US swimmers Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens poses on the podium with their gold medals after winning the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay final during the swimming event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 31, 2012 in London. (FABRICE COFFRINI)London 2012: Summer Olympics
(CBS News) Winning an Olympic medal may be priceless to an athlete and his or her fans, but not to the IRS.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill Wednesday that would make the medals and prize money awarded to U.S. athletes at the London games – they get thousands of dollars in addition to the medals – exempt from taxes.
In a statement, the Tea Party-backed Florida senator blamed the tax rule on a “complicated and burdensome mess” of a system “that too often punishes success.”
*I know John Orozco has not medaled, but that does not make him less of a hero, and he is young. There still can be another Olympics for him, and if and when that happens he should not be taxed after all of that taxing training and prep.