August 25, 2008 5:14PM

If a Government Job Is the Reward for Winning, I’d Hate to See What Happens to the Losers

Greece has a funny way of rewarding Olympic success. Medalists get government jobs, often as officers in the military (which must be a real morale booster for the any professional soldiers that might be in the Greek Army). Not surprisingly, North Korea also takes the same approach. The International Herald Tribune reports:

Greece dropped the idea of presenting the winner with a wreath and an amphora of precious olive oil long ago and instead will offer about 190,000 euros (145,600 pounds) for gold medalists at August’s Beijing Olympics, 130,000 (100,000 pounds) for silver and 70,000 (53,600 pounds) for bronze. Medalists will also get a comfortable civil service job, usually as an officer in the military, and several advertising contracts worth hundreds of thousands of euros in total. …Figures for secretive North Korea are not available but medalists from the communist state are celebrated as heroes, receiving perks such as apartments and state jobs with the Workers’ Party.