olympic gold medallist prize
The headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Organising Committee (Cojo), in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. Image: Bertrand GUAY / AFP

Home » Olympics 2024: Gold medalists get R900k in prize money

Olympics 2024: Gold medalists get R900k in prize money

Athletics breaks new ground by offering R937 591 prize money to Olympic gold medalists in Paris 2024, a first for any sport at the Games.

12-04-24 11:32
olympic gold medallist prize
The headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Organising Committee (Cojo), in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. Image: Bertrand GUAY / AFP

In a groundbreaking move, athletics has become the first sport to offer prize money to Olympic champions. World Athletics announced on Wednesday that the 48 gold medallists in the upcoming Paris Games this year will each receive $50,000 (RR937 591) for their outstanding achievements.

PRIZE MONEY FOR OLYMPIC ATHLETICS CHAMPIONS

The decision to award prize money to Olympic champions marks a significant step forward for athletics. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe emphasised the importance of this initiative, stating, “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.”

While the Paris Games will only see gold medallists rewarded, silver and bronze medallists will also earn prize money starting from the 2028 Los Angeles Games. The details of these awards will be announced at a later date.

RECOGNISING THE VALUE OF OLYMPIC ATHLETICS MEDALLISTS

World Athletics president, Lord Coe, acknowledged the difficulty in placing a marketable value on winning an Olympic medal but stressed the significance of ensuring that some of the revenues generated by athletes at the Olympic Games are directly returned to those who make the Games the global spectacle that it is.

Relay teams will share the winners’ prize pot, further emphasising the collaborative nature of the sport.

THE EVOLUTION OF ATHLETICS AND THE OLYMPICS

When Sebastian Coe won his 1,500 metres gold medals at the 1980 and 1984 Games, the Olympics was officially a competition for amateurs, as was athletics. However, the sport soon fully embraced professionalism, while the Olympics remained free from prize money.

Despite this, athletes in many sports can expect hefty bonuses from sponsors for triumphing in the biggest shop window of all.

SUPPORTING ATHLETES IN THE FACE OF FUNDING CHALLENGES

Athletics is the Olympics’ biggest sport, both in terms of the number of participants and TV audiences. However, the vast majority of athletes, including many Olympic medallists, face a constant struggle for funding.

The introduction of prize money for Olympic champions in athletics is a significant step towards recognising and supporting the efforts of these dedicated athletes.

A MILESTONE FOR OLYMPIC ATHLETICS

The $2.4 million prize pot for the Paris Games marks a milestone in the history of Olympic athletics. By directly rewarding the athletes who make the Games the global spectacle that it is, World Athletics is setting a precedent for other sports to follow. As the sport continues to evolve and embrace professionalism, this initiative is a testament to the commitment of World Athletics to support and celebrate the achievements of its athletes on the world’s biggest stage.

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