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World Athletics breaks ground: Offers $50,000 prize money to Paris Olympics track and field gold medallists

At the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris this summer, gold medallists in track and field events will be awarded $50,000 USD (£39,400) in prize money each.

Paris Olympics 2024: Gold medallists to win $50,000 in World Athletics first snt
First Published Apr 10, 2024, 2:59 PM IST

Track and field is poised to make history as the inaugural sport to offer prize money at the Olympics, as announced by World Athletics on Wednesday. Gold medalists in Paris will receive a substantial sum of $50,000 each.

The athletics governing body has allocated $2.4 million to compensate the gold medalists across the 48 events featured in the track and field program for the upcoming Paris Olympics. Relay teams will distribute the $50,000 prize among their members. It's anticipated that payments for silver and bronze medalists will commence at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“While it is impossible to put a marketable value on winning an Olympic medal, or on the commitment and focus it takes to even represent your country at an Olympic Games, I think it is important we start somewhere and make sure some of the revenues generated by our athletes at the Olympic Games are directly returned to those who make the Games the global spectacle that it is,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

The prize money allocated for track and field gold medalists at the Olympics will be funded from the portion of Olympic revenue distributed to World Athletics and other sports governing bodies, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed.

Athletes must undergo standard anti-doping procedures during the event before receiving the prize money, World Athletics emphasized.

Although the modern Olympics initially emphasized amateurism, the IOC itself does not offer prize money. However, numerous medalists receive financial rewards from their respective governments, national sports organizations, or sponsors.

During the last Summer Games in Tokyo in 2021, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee awarded $37,500 to gold medalists. Singapore's National Olympic Council stands out by promising $1 million for Olympic gold, a milestone achieved only once by a Singaporean athlete.

World Athletics' decision may also reflect potential future shifts in the Olympics' approach, particularly considering the ambitions of figures like Sebastian Coe, who may pursue the IOC presidency.

“I haven’t ruled it in, and I certainly haven’t ruled it out,” Coe said last year when asked whether he would consider running for the IOC’s top post when Thomas Bach’s term ends in 2025. The IOC typically disapproves of any public campaigning for the presidency.

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