Olympics medals aren’t worth much, so it may surprise you to know that medalists also get stuck with a hefty tax bill.

Those elite athletes don’t just collect hardware when they win, they also collect a check — $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. That money and the (paltry) value of their medals is all considered taxable income.

As a result, gold medal winners will owe almost $9,000 to Uncle Sam, with silver and bronze winners on the hook for $5,400 and $3,500, respectively. And that’s something Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida says is just wrong.

He’s introduced a bill in the Senate that would exempt US Olympic medalists from paying federal taxes on the medals and prize money they earn at the Games, saying, “These Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.”

If the bill becomes law, it would apply to awards won after Dec. 31, 2011 — which means all the medalists in London right now would get a welcome tax break next April.

[ABC News]