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Track and field is first sport to introduce prize money at Olympics

World Athletics says it will pay $50,000 to gold medalists of track and field at this year's Paris Olympics.
Track and field is first sport to introduce prize money at Olympics
Posted at 8:26 AM, Apr 10, 2024

Track and field is set to become the first sport to introduce prize money at the Olympics, with World Athletics saying Wednesday it will pay $50,000 to gold medalists in Paris.

The governing body of athletics said it was setting aside $2.4 million to pay the gold medalists across the 48 events on the track and field program for this year's Paris Olympics. Relay teams will split the $50,000 between their members. Payments for silver and bronze medalists are planned to start from 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 will come out of the share of Olympic revenue that that the IOC distributes to World Athletics and other governing bodies of individual sports.

Athletes will have to pass "the usual anti-doping procedures" at the event before they receive the money, World Athletics added.

The modern Olympics originated as an amateur sports event and the International Olympic Committee does not award prize money. However, many medalists receive payments from their countries' governments, national sports bodies or from sponsors.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee awarded $37,500 to gold medalists at the last Summer Games in Tokyo in 2021. Singapore's National Olympic Council promises $1 million for Olympic gold, a feat only achieved once so far by a Singaporean competitor.

The move by World Athletics could be seen as an indicator of Coe's intentions for the Olympics as a whole if he makes a run for 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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