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World Athletics introduces $50,000 prize money for Paris 2024 Olympic gold medalists

<i>Benoit Tessier/Reuters via CNN Newsource</i><br/>A preview of the gold medal which will be given out to winners at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Benoit Tessier/Reuters via CNN Newsource
A preview of the gold medal which will be given out to winners at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

By Sammy Mncwabe and Ben Morse, CNN

(CNN) — World Athletics (WA) will become the first international sports governing body to award prize money to Olympic gold medalists starting at the Paris 2024 Games, the federation said in a statement on Monday.

A prize pot of $2.4 million has been set aside by WA from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) revenue share allocation it receives every four years to reward athletes.

Athletes who win gold in each of the 48 track and field events in Paris will receive $50,000. Relay teams will receive the same amount to share amongst the athletes.

“The introduction of prize money for Olympic gold medalists is a pivotal moment for World Athletics and the sport of athletics as a whole, underscoring our commitment to empowering the athletes and recognizing the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games,” WA president Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

“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,” Coe added.

Traditionally, Olympic medal winners don’t receive prize money as the event originated as an amateur competition.

On Thursday, the IOC responded to WA’s prize money scheme, pointing to its own methods of funding athletes.

“The IOC redistributes 90 per cent of all its income, in particular to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs),” it said in a statement sent to CNN.

“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.”

WA says it is committed to extending the bonus initiative to Olympic silver and bronze medalists at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. The reward structure and format for those Games will be confirmed at a later stage.

Coe later told reporters that he disagreed that this financial incentive would promote cheating, instead stressing the importance of highlighting the abilities of the world’s best athletes.

“It reflects World Athletics’ view that the athletes – our athletes make up 20% in numbers at an Olympic Games – should be recognized,” he said.

“I recognize that many Olympic champions will be in receipt of monies, financial support, from a range of organizations, whether it’s governments, whether it’s the National Olympic Committee, whether it’s commercial partners, this isn’t in any way to overshadow the Olympic Games, it is just World Athletics, one federation, and I’m only responsible for that.”

The Olympic Games officially get underway in Paris on July 26 and run until August 11.

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