Athletes from Indiana are getting another reason to go for the gold: a tax break on their Olympic winnings.
Indiana’s House of Representatives voted Wednesday to exempt Olympic medals and prize money from Indiana income taxes. Currently, Olympic champions receive $25,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for the silver and $10,000 for the bronze from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The tax break would be retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year, which means it would apply to just one person: Nick Goepper, the bronze medalist in slopestyle skiing who hails from Lawrenceburg, a 5,000-person town along the Ohio River near the border with Ohio, about 25 miles west of Cincinnati.
Rep. Terri Austin, a Democrat from Anderson, Ind., tacked the Olympic tax break onto another tax-related measure Wednesday.
“These men and women spend many years and make many sacrifices in order to pursue their dreams, and I don’t think we need to penalize them for succeeding at a level that brings worldwide recognition for themselves, their state and their country,” Austin said.
The bill still must pass Indiana’s state senate before becoming law. A vote on that is expected in March.
Indiana has a rich history of Olympians, including Ray Ewry, who won eight Olympic gold medals between the 1900, 1904 and 1908 Olympics, all in track and field, making him one of the most decorated Olympians in history.
More recently, diver David Boudia took home a gold and bronze medal at the 2012 games in London, while volleyball player Lloy Ball was part of the gold-medal-winning men’s volleyball team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Of course, the state is home to Larry Bird, the legendary basketball star who was part of the gold-medal-winning men’s basketball “Dream Team.”