Olympic athletics gold medallists will get £39,000 in Paris this summer in break from tradition

10 April 2024, 11:21

Olymic gold medallists will be given prize money for the first time
Olymic gold medallists will be given prize money for the first time. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Olympic gold medallists in athletics will get prize money for the first time this summer.

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Winners of track and field events will get $50,000 dollars each (the equivalent of around £39,400) in the 2024 games in Paris.

Athletics' world governing body has said it has set aside $2.4m (£1.89m) to pay the gold medallists in the 48 events due to be held at this summer's Olympics.

It marks a break from tradition, as the modern Olympics were set up as an amateur event in the late 19th century. Athletics bosses said that they are introducing the payments to reflect the money that Olympic athletes bring in.

The four winners of relay races will split the winnings between them, giving each $12,500, or just under £10,000.

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President of World Athletics Sebastian Coe
President of World Athletics Sebastian Coe. Picture: Alamy

Silver and bronze medallists will be paid from the 2028 Olympics onwards, according to plans by the authorities.

Medallists will only get the money once they have tested negative for performance-enhancing drugs, and when other administrative processes are completed.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: "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."

He added: "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."

Italy's Lamont Jacobs (right) wins the Men's 100 metres at the Olympic Stadium on the ninth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Italy's Lamont Jacobs (right) wins the Men's 100 metres at the Olympic Stadium on the ninth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture: Alamy

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which organises the games, does not award prize money itself.

Many athletes, and competitors in other events outside of track and field, are sponsored by their countries or other sporting organisations to train and take part in the games.

Lord Coe said he had not spoken to the IOC about the prize money decision, but added that he hoped "they would welcome it".

He said that in his opinion paying Olympic medallists did not violate the Olympic spirit.

"If I thought athletes were only competing for a financial pot, I might take a different view," he added.

"But the world has changed and this is just a recognition we can make a contribution across all our 48 disciplines. And as we grow as a sport I want to increase that pot."

The Paris Olympics will take place this year from July 26 - August 11.

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