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Why Did Kirsty Coventry Get a $100,000 Briefcase of Cash?

 - Aug 29, 2008
Zimbabwe’s only Olympic medalist, Kirsty Coventry, was handed a $100,000 in cash following her Olympic win… Why?  President Robert Mugabe instituted an incentive program to motivate the country’s athletes.

About Kristy, he noted, "Our national spirit must exude joy and pleasure and say you have done well, daughter of Zimbabwe. We are proud of you, we wish you well. She’s our golden girl ... take care of her."

Take care of her?  That’s right… Despite the fact that she swam for Zimbabwe, the swimmer is actually based in the U.S.  Accordingly, the monetary reward comes with a little bit of controversy.

Despite Zimbabwe’s struggling economic conditions, Kirsty Coventry was awarded a big briefcase of cash while other Zimbabwe athletes were rewarded between $2,000 and $10,000 for their participation.

Zimbabwe isn’t the first country to provide a monetary incentive, but it might be one of the poorest.

Having said that, in a country like Zimbabe, there are less opportunities for athletes to obtain sponsorship funding leading up to the games.  Athletes in these countries also lack the juicy endorsement contracts that reward athletes in richer countries. 

The only kicker, is that THIS particular incentive went to Kirsty Coventry, an American resident.