How much is a British gold medal worth? £2m

Home athletes on the podium will earn riches beyond their wildest dreams from sponsors, TV shows and a host of other deals

As 2012 beckons, the dense fog of economic gloom shows no signs of lifting, so there's fat chance of a happy and prosperous New Year for most citizens of Great Britain. Though not for all. Those with winners' medals draped around their necks at the London Olympics will not only be enveloped by great happiness, but assured of considerable prosperity.

More than ever before, these Games will enrich victorious British competitors beyond their wildest imagination. Not from actual prize money, of course. But when they step up to that rostrum they will be standing on a gold mine of sponsorships and endorsements, TV adverts and shows, speaking engagements and newspaper columns.

Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Ennis, Rebecca Adlington, Ben Ainslie, Mark Cavendish, Mo Farah, Tom Daley, Phillips Idowu, Keri-Anne Payne and Dai Greene are leading contenders for the gold standard. And to borrow a phrase from Del Boy, this time next year they could all be millionaires – if some aren't already.

Hoy's pedal power is believed already to have earned at least a couple of million after his three golds in Beijing which made him the biggest name in cycling. Before 2008 he was earning just £24,000 a year from Lottery grants and small sponsorships. Beijing brought him lucrative deals from Kellogg's, Harrods, Highland Spring, adidas and ScottishPower Renewables.

Swimmer Adlington, who said after Bejing that all she wanted was to buy a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, could follow in the footsteps of Imelda Marcos should she strike double gold again.

Leading sponsorship agency Octagon, whose clients include the marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, estimate some British winners could pick up £2m before Rio 2016. Their vice-president Clifford Bloxham says: "Seven or eight Team GB athletes will be able to command big endorsements after 2012, earning sums on a par with top British stars like Andy Murray and Jenson Button."

No one is suggesting that medal-winners in team events or less popular sports will be millionaires overnight but many will still get nice little earners should they do well. Even practitioners of hockey, taekwondo, canoeing and handball now have managers, PR minders and agents.

But here's a prediction. There is one young man, as yet relatively unknown, who with a little luck – or a lucky punch – can be literally the biggest hit of 2012 and subsequently the highest earner. The aforementioned sums will be chicken feed to what 22-year-old Anthony Joshua will be worth – £5m is the estimate of one promoter – should he become the Olympic super-heavyweight boxing champion. It remains the richest prize in Olympic sport. Ask Audley Harrison: he made a million back in 2000 when he turned pro, without landing a blow. The seven-figure windfall, from licence payers' money courtesy of the BBC, was paid up front, together with another million from a sponsor. It turned out to be money for old rope and, as we know, it all ended in jeers.

Amir Khan also collected a cool couple of million in his initial three-year deal with Frank Warren – and that was only after winning silver at lightweight at Athens 2004. And James DeGale got an instant investment of around £1.5m from the same promoter after his acquisition of the middleweight title at Beijing 2008.

In boxing it is always the big boys who make the big money and, in the Olympic ring, they don't come any bigger than 6ft 6in Joshua, the London-born son of Nigerian parents who has the profile, personality and punch, together with a newly-acquired world amateur silver medal from Baku, where he lost on a hotly-disputed decision to the local Azerbaijani, having beaten the reigning Olympic champion Roberto Cammarelle.

Joshua says: "I'm made for the Olympic final. I'm not overwhelmed by the prospect. This is what I am supposed to do. I've not won it yet but I'm heading in the right direction."

His confidence is shared by Rob McCracken, Team GB's boxing chief. "We always knew Anthony was something special but his rate of progress this year, for someone still inexperienced, has been absolutely fantastic. He has every chance of being a star in his hometown Olympics."

Joshua has more heart than Harrison and a better chin than David Haye. When he won the ABA title two years ago he spurned an offer of £50,000 to turn pro, and there was 10 times that incentive on offer after his world silver. But he knows winning gold will make him worth a king's ransom. Or even a Don King's ransom.

Of course the boxing ring is strewn with shattered dreams of wannabes, and that Olympic title is by no means a foregone conclusion, even less the world heavyweight title which understandably is his aspiration.

But of all the potential 2012 achievers hoping to milk London's Olympic cash cow, Joshua seems the one most likely to be worth his weight in gold.

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup