Russian Olympic medalists receive big rewards

Russia gave all of its gold medalists in the Sochi Games $120,000, plus a brand-new Mercedes GL SUV. This led to a bit of logistical leapfrogging with athletes like Julia Lipnitskaya, who is only 15 and not yet of legal driving age in Russia. (She got a personal driver to go along with the car.) Silver medalists got $76,000 and a Mercedes ML, and bronze medalists got $52,000 and a Mercedes GLK.

A total of 45 cars were distributed to gold medalists. Russia won a Sochi-leading total of 33 medals, including 13 golds. The cars were provided by the Russian Olympians Foundation, a consortium established by Russian businessmen in 2005. Russian athletes who won medals in the 2012 London Games received new Audis with personal drivers.
Jay Busbee

Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Lipnitskaya attend ceremony to present automobiles to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, in central Moscow

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Yulia Lipnitskaya (R) attend a ceremony to present automobiles to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, by the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Artem Zhitenev/RIA Novosti/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS SPORT OLYMPICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

In this photo taken Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, poses with Russian Olympic medal winners after Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. From left, figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, cross-country sprinter Nikita Kruikov, back, figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia, and at right, figure skater Adelina Sotnikova. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Sotnikova attend a ceremony to present automobiles to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, in central Moscow

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Adelina Sotnikova attend a ceremony to present automobiles to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, by the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Artem Zhitenev/RIA Novosti/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS SPORT OLYMPICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Lipnitskaya attend ceremony to present automobiles to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, in central Moscow

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Yulia Lipnitskaya (front) attend a ceremony to present automobiles to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, by the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Ekaterina Shtukina/RIA Novosti/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS SPORT OLYMPICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Russian Olympic gold medalists in figure skating Adelina Sotnikova (R) and Yulia Lipnitskaya pose for the media during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian Olympic gold medalists in figure skating Adelina Sotnikova (L) and Yulia Lipnitskaya speak to teh media during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian Gold Olympic medalists in figure skating Maxim Trankov (C) and Tatyana Volosozhar (R) speak to the media seen during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hand with Olympic gold medalist in figure skating Adelina Sotnikova (R) during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin presents Olympic gold medalist in figure skating Yulia Lipnitskaya (R) with an award during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Members of the Russian Olympic team pose for a photo during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Olympic Gold medalist in figure skating Evgeni Plushenko adjusts his jumper during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Olympic gold medalist in speed skating Viktor Ahn (R) after presenting him with an award during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin presents Olympic gold medalist in figure skating Yulia Lipnitskaya (R) with an award during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Olympic gold medalist in figure skating Evgeni Plushenko (R) after presenting him with an award during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Olympic gold medalist in figure skating Tatyana Volosozhar (R) after presenting him with an award during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin during an awards ceremony for Russian Olympic athletes on February 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented awards to members of the Russian Olympic team a day after the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Plushenko attend ceremony to present automobiles to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, by the Kremlin wall in central Moscow

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and figure skating gold medal winner Evgeni Plushenko (R) attend a ceremony to present automobiles to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics prize-holders representing Russia, by the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Artem Zhitenev/RIA Novosti/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS SPORT OLYMPICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS