Organization Offers Prize Money at Olympics

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 10: The logo, Paris 2024 representing the Olympic Games is displayed inside the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics three months ahead of the Olympic on April 10, 2024 in Saint-Denis, France. The city is gearing up to host the XXXIII Olympic Summer Games, from 26 July to 11 August. | Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

Olympic track and field athletes will be able to earn prize money along with their gold medals at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation and International Association of Athletics Federations, is setting aside roughly $2.4 million of its revenue share that it will receive from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reward gold medalists across 48 track and field events with $50,000 each. Participants in individual events will have the prize money for themselves, while participants in team events will split the $50,000 among team members.

“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,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a press release. “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.”

Coe also added that the move was made “to recognize that the revenue share that we receive is in large part because our athletes are the stars of the show.”

Historically, Olympic athletes have been considered “amateur” athletes, meaning they cannot be paid for their travel expenses and playing their sports. However, just as they have in collegiate athletics., things seem to be trending in another direction.

While no money will be going directly to the athletes from the IOC, other groups have implemented similar practices. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) awarded a total of $37,500 to gold medalists at the most recent Summer Games in Tokyo in 2021, and Singapore is offering $1 million to its athletes who win gold medals, which has only happened once.

World Athletics plans to expand the rewards to silver and bronze medalists at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Athletes will have to pass an “anti-doping” test to collect their rewards.

World Athletics did alert the IOC of its intentions shortly before making the announcement public, and the IOC issued the following response:

“The IOC redistributes 90 percent of all its income, in particular to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs). This means that, every day, the equivalent of USD 4.2 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world. It is up to each IF and NOC to determine how to best serve their athletes and the global development of their sport.”

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