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World Athletics introduces prize money for Olympic gold medallists

In a landmark decision, World Athletics has today (10 April) announced it will become the first international federation to award prize money at an Olympic Games, financially rewarding athletes for achieving the pinnacle of sporting success, starting at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

A total prize pot of US$2.4 million has been ring fenced from the International Olympic Committee’s revenue share allocation, which is received by World Athletics every four years. This will be used to reward athletes who win a gold medal in each of the 48 athletics events in Paris with US$50,000.

This initiative by World Athletics also includes a firm commitment to extend the prize money at a tiered level, to Olympic silver and bronze medal winners at the LA 2028 Olympic Games.

When sharing details of the decision, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe commented: “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 recognising the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games.

“This is the continuation of a journey we started back in 2015, which sees all the money World Athletics receives from the International Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games go directly back into our sport.

“We started with the Olympic dividend payments to our Member Federations, which saw us distribute an extra US$5m a year on top of existing grants aimed at athletics growth projects, and we are now in a position to also fund gold medal performances for athletes in Paris, with a commitment to reward all three medallists at the LA28 Olympic Games.

“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.”

The payment of prize money will depend upon the World Athletics ratification process, including athletes undergoing and clearing the usual anti-doping procedures. Each individual Olympic champion will receive US$50,000. Relay teams will receive the same amount, to be shared among the team. The format and structure of the LA28 Olympic bonuses will be announced nearer the time.

Credit: World Athletics

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