I've often heard advocates of soak-the-rich taxation suggesting that higher marginal tax rates, at the margin, have little effect on the behavior of high achievers, particularly motivated high achievers.
Motivated high achievers, particularly in endeavors that enjoy broad popular support, a category that applies to Olympic sports far more than it does to advanced economics research, strike me as exemplars of a class of people for whom tax breaks matter little.
Reason's Ira Stoll notes that Senator Schumer is making common cause with Grover "drown government in an Olympic Pool" Norquist on this tax break for the medalists. But there's a less restrictive way of getting the incentives right. "The politicians would probably be better off just lowering everyone's taxes, rather than picking and choosing a few already lucky Olympic athletes to reward with tax cuts. Good luck getting Sen. Schumer to back that idea, which would really be worth a gold medal." Quite.