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HomeATHLETICSWorld Athletics breaks tradition, to pay prize money for Olympic golds

World Athletics breaks tradition, to pay prize money for Olympic golds


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In a historic move, World Athletics has announced plans to award prize money at the upcoming Paris Olympics, marking the first time an international federation will do so at the Games.

Gold medalists across the 48 athletics events in Paris will receive a substantial sum of $50,000 (£40,000) each.

“While athletes are often paid by sponsors and the Olympic tradition of amateur competition has long since been consigned to history, the decision by track and field’s international body to pay prize money represents a major shift for the Games,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.

Coe emphasised the importance of recognising athletes’ efforts, which draw immense viewership to Olympic broadcasts. “I don’t believe this is remotely at variance with the concept that the International Olympic Committee often talks about, which is recognizing the efforts that our competitors make for the overall success of the Games,” Coe said.

He clarified that the decision was made independently by World Athletics, with minimal prior consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “It’s a matter for the sport. The one thing the IOC has consistently recognized is the primacy of international federations to fashion their own futures,” Coe added.

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The $2.4 million (£1.90 million) prize fund will be sourced from World Athletics’ revenue share allocation from the IOC, distributed every four years.

“Each individual Olympic champion will receive $50,000 (£40,000) and relay teams will receive the same amount, to be shared among team members,” Coe explained.

Coe hailed the introduction of prize money as a significant step in acknowledging athletes’ contributions to the success of the Olympic Games. “The introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medallists is a pivotal moment for World Athletics and the sport of athletics as a whole, underscoring our commitment to empowering the athletes and recognizing the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games,” he said.

Reflecting on the evolution of the sporting landscape, Coe noted the stark contrast between amateur conditions during his competitive years and the current era. “We’re now operating in a completely different planet from when I was competing, so it is very important that the sport recognizes that change in landscape,” he said.

The Paris Olympics, scheduled from July 26 to August 11, will witness this historic shift in rewarding athletic achievement.



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